And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." (From the Gospel of Matthew)
Today's Gospel lesson seems to tie in very well with what I've been contemplating these days. (I'm not certain why that still surprises me when it happens...)
As I was listening to The Shack on CD while traveling, I grew to really appreciate a phrase the author used repeatedly. God, in various forms, indicates to the main character in the book many times, that He/She (God) is "especially fond" of him or of another human being. As I listened to it, I wondered how many times I have felt this way for someone else, for God, or even how I feel about this phrase directed at me?
What do I think of God speaking to me in this way? I'm a little unsure. It seems informal of God, I think. But I like it conceptually. Who doesn't want someone to be especially fond of her? I'm not certain I've ever been able to claim this for myself wholly or fully. What I'm learning, albeit haltingly at times, is that the more I am able to love others in this way - being especially fond of them, sometimes in spite of who or how they are, the more I can feel in a fresh and new way the love God has for me.
There are people I am especially fond of. I often label people I really enjoy as my "favorite" for example my son is my "favorite boy" and my daughter is my "favorite girl." There's a Judge I really like, I tell him he's my favorite. A good friend who is part of my usual lunch group knows she is my favorite. I'm not sure when I started doing this, but I enjoy the practice of ascribing favorite to people I love. I enjoy being expressive and loving people. I feel especially alive in those moments.
As obsessed as I've been at moments in finding my "calling," I know for sure I am called to be a lover of souls. And how blessed a life I lead! To be surrounded by people that I'm especially fond of much of the time. Sometimes I lose my patience or my ability to be the person I want to be, and yet those I'm especially fond of usually see past that and love me back to where I need to be. Those people, both past and present, are the ones that make my life make sense and who know that I mean well, even when I'm not completely certain of my own intent.