Retelling Your Loveliness

Has anyone ever loved you back to life again after you have suffered? There are many endings, griefs and tragedies to be borne and accompanied in our lives. If we are fortunate, we do not have to face them alone. With the help of others, we can make it through the suffering and its “dark night of the soul,” the transition, and find the new beginning emerging on the other side.

There are so many individuals, who need love and support, around us. As a professional caregiver, I am privileged to relate to some of them. A young man shared his story. “I grew up in foster homes. In the first one, from the age of two to five, I was severely beaten. Later, a doctor explained that I stopped growing because I was not loved.” To love and be loved is one of humans’ core spiritual needs.

I am reminded of the poem by Galway Kinnell entitled “St. Francis and The Sow:”

“though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,…
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing”

A middle aged woman said, “My husband called me beautiful. In his eyes, I am. Why should that cause me such discomfort? When I was young, harassment dismissed by adults as jokes, and sexual harassment by peers ungoverned by the adults in charge, humiliated me and shaped my self image. In the absence of positive mirroring from my parents while I was a teenager, I grew up very insecure about my looks. My mother had extremely high standards for beauty and once conceded that I was ‘a handsome woman.’ Who wanted to be that? But now, after many years of marriage, I believe my husband. I believe I am beautiful.” A sense of self-worth is one of humans’ core spiritual needs.

Since it is human to need a sense of self-worth and also a need to love and be loved, we all suffer blows to these areas of our spiritual lives when we suffer, as in these two examples. We need to be retold of our loveliness and our love-ability. After we have deeply internalized that message, we may be able to freely bless ourselves and others.

May you know deeply your perfect loveliness.
May you always have one person or more in your life to retell your loveliness to you in words and in touch
Until you flower from within with self-blessing. Amen.