Anne Lamott spoke in Fort Worth a couple of months ago; I really dig her work and the sheer nerve it takes to reveal her thoughts, feelings and passions.
She is the real deal.
Anne said many, many cool things that night, things like, Jesus says “this is a come-as-you-are” party. She also said, in referring to the traumas in our lives, “I don’t think we ever get over anything.” In other words, the history of our past stays with us, even as we learn to move on around it.
There were three words she said, though, that have stayed with me, running through my head at random times like intermittent rain showers in south Florida.
Loved and chosen
In her book, Grace Eventually, Thoughts on Faith, Anne tells the story of gathering kids for Sunday School and beginning with the “loved and chosen” game. One by one, she picks a child, seemingly (to the child) at random (“Does anybody know somebody wearing a Texas Rangers t-shirt today?”) to come sit beside her.
She welcomes each of them with the words, You are so loved and chosen. No one is left out.
It’s true. Everyone–absolutely everyone–is loved and chosen, because as she explains, “God loves.”
When Anne spoke those words in Fort Worth, I had just been let go from my job and I thought to myself, “My boss? Even her? She’s loved and chosen?”
Stepping on God’s toes
A few years back, I got into a tiff with a friend over another friend’s callous and rude behavior. I dropped into my perverse, gossipy self and said in my best holier-than-thou voice, “Well, just who does she think she is?”
Can’t you just picture my stance? Feet firmly planted 18″ apart, hand on hip, lips pursed and nose in the air?
My friend looked at me and said in a drop-dead calm voice, “You better be careful, my dear. Sounds to me like you’re making a judgment and on the off-chance that you are, you’re acting like you know more than God because God loves everybody the same.”
The point is that we all have stuff. We all have days when we show up with our C, D or F game instead of our A game. And we are much harder on ourselves than anybody else. Am I right?
Before you take one more step on the day when you’re reading this post, think about this: You Are Loved and Chosen.
When you forget to put the coffee in the basket and pour the water through the pot, you are loved and chosen.
When you back your car into the cart-corral in the grocery store parking lot, you are loved and chosen.
When you forget your anniversary, you are loved and chosen.
You know, there would be no need for forgiveness if you never screwed up. And forgiveness is a beautiful thing; it brings healing and growth to your inner world.
Now, go on about your day, and if at any point it turns south, stop where you are and say, “Do I know anybody wearing jean shorts, a Ft. Lauderdale t-shirt and no shoes today? You are loved and chosen.”
Photo courtesy of lisafanucchi