Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
I am guessing that most of us have a wide array of voices echoing through the vast expanses of our gray matter. Some of those voices echo sweet, tender words, words that we hold onto like treasure.
It was a day that I never will forget, it was the first day of Summer, June 21st, 2011. On this pleasantly warm afternoon, I spent time with my mother. She was in a wheelchair, her world had become quite small, living in a nursing home. We sat outside and talked about her granddaughters at home on Whidbey Island. When it was time to leave, I kissed her check and said, “I love you Mom. You have been the most wonderful and loving mom to me.” She smiled and said, “That’s all I need to know. I love you.” Those words live in the recesses of my mind, a recollection held dear, words that offer me comfort in moments of grief. It would be the last time that I would ever see my mother alive.
But for most of us there are other voices, voices nearly impossible to escape, voices from the past that hang over us, ominous dark clouds that haunt our days. Decades after their utterance they visit us still, holding sway over us, making it difficult to shed the shame they invoke. Recently, I was with a man in his 50’s and I asked him about his parents. He said, “I think they are fine, but we are estranged. You see, I never really measured up. My dad made it clear to me that I was a disappointment to him.”
Deeply imbedded in our DNA is the desire to make our parents proud. For many that is an impossible and thankless task. The voices lay dormant for some time and then they are awakened, and so are our deeply held insecurities. We hear the voices of disappointed parents, betrayed lovers, and lost friends as we are accused and convicted in the court of our minds. The voices are intimate. There are no words spoken by a stranger that are given permanent space in our minds. Angry words from the UPS man, a ferry worker or a disgruntled driver are processed quickly and discarded. Intimate voices have a way of imprinting themselves deep into our hearts.
Do you hear voices? I do. None of us live free from regret or guilt. But there is a voice, an intimate voice, the voice of the one who truly knows us, the voice of the one who gave us life and will meet us in death. That voice speaks to us in the present, reminding us of ancient truths and comforting promises. “You are a child of God, you are precious, you are loved, you are forgiven, I do not expect perfection. I will never leave you or forsake you. You are my child, and I am your God.” Despite our imperfections, regrets, deeds and misdeeds, even as prodigals we remain the precious children of God.
May the voice of God give perspective to your days. May the voice of God lead you from shame to abundant life. May the voice of God give you peace.
One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread, I am your