In the place where they were told, "You are nobody," this will be the very place where they will be renamed "Children of the living God."~Romans 9:26 (The Passion Translation)
A letter waited for me in the post office box yesterday. A high school friend wrote that she'd found an old photo of me and my mother she'd snapped when I was eighteen. The photo in the envelope showed me with long hair wearing a pair of maroon bellbottoms, platform shoes peeking from under the flared hems. My mother, younger than I am now, smiled widely, her hair a brown bouffant helmet styled to last for a week--her arm around my slender waist. As I looked at the faded photo I wondered, "What if I'd believed I was not a 'nobody' then?" "What if I'd believed even though I was invisible to the 'popular crowd,' I was not insignificant?"
I think about those questions now. I wonder where that location was where I was renamed. I believe that locale was my mind. My belief system. As I gazed at that little square of memory, I realized that at eighteen, I believed I was "nobody." I didn't see myself accurately. Plenty of others did. My high school friend often said, "You are so pretty, Prissy." My mother did. Father too. My parents often said they were proud of me. An English teacher pulled me aside one day before high school graduation and said, "You have a real talent for writing. I hope you'll keep at it." I didn't believe any of them.
When did my thinking shift? Where was that site where I believed I was the beloved of God? A turning point occurred in 2009 when Giovanni and I traveled to Barcelona. I wrote about a dream I had while in Spain in my latest book, The Light By Which We See. (You can read about the dream here in a blog post I wrote when I was in the midst of writing the book In Barcelona).
When Giovanni and I traveled to Barcelona, I remember watching a woman sitting on a park bench. She appeared peaceful, confident. I thought, "I want to be like that." I am more and more like that now. Over the years, I've come to believe that I am the beloved of God. Always accepted. Always seen, never invisible. Understood. Comforted. Belonging to Him. Would that I could have believed for that young woman, yet grateful that God never ceases to pursue with His oceanic love.
As I write this blog, I'm reminded of a song that, every time I hear it, think, "That music is like the soundtrack of my life." While there are minor chords, the piece is threaded with hopeful melodies as well. Like life. The name of the instrumenal, Barcelona. Listen here if you wish. Barcelona