Earlier that Sunday morning I had introduced myself to a man in front of me who I did not recognize. We had exchanged some pleasantries and spoke again – about the scripture passage of all things! – at the end of worship. I cannot recall the last time that has happened – so I conclude that something was at work!! He spoke of hearing about love as something other than individual love but rather love in and through community (the message of the meditation). I pointed out the words that had gotten my attention: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” I told the man that this was the struggle – to see ourselves as the awesome, wonderful, inherently beautiful people that God sees. I understand this passage to suggest that we will – finally – see ourselves as God sees us. The gentleman spoke of grappling with this as well.
I subscribe to several daily emails and one that arrived on Tuesday said this: “We must try to discover the real person we are, otherwise we cannot encounter…[God] in truth. From time to time something authentic shows through: in moments when we are carried away by such joy that we forget who might be looking at us...when we are unself-conscious in moments of extreme pain...or when we have a deep sense of sadness or of wonder. At these moments we see something of the true person that we are. But no sooner have we seen than we often turn away because we do not want to confront this person face to face.... Nevertheless this is the only real person there is in us.” It is a quote by Anthony Bloom (not anyone I know), and the source was Courage to Pray. Why we might ask, do we turn away from ourselves? I do not have the answer.
I am reading a book called Saved by a Poem and in the very first chapter re-encountered a poem I had met some seven or eight years ago. It is by Derek Wolcott and speaks to this very same subject. It is called “Love After Love.”
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
May we find our meeting place – together – and celebrate all that we are…and always have been.
(And speaking of poems, I have added several to the poetry page.)