During teaching sessions of Living from the Heart, the participants and facilitators sat in a circle. In the centre was a low table adorned with a cross and a candle, and around it were a number of icons, two pictured here. This familiar, sacred space held many memories for us.
In our final closing, I invited each person to share a blessing, gratitude or gift they received during our time together. Many shed tears as they talked or listened; the affection we had for each other was palpable.
When I was certain everyone had had a turn, I began to speak. As I did, I felt a gentle hand on my arm. Deb, the co-facilitator sitting beside me, realized one of the participants had also begun to talk. That touch was all I needed to stop, look and listen.
Of course I felt bad for messing up. I’m quite sensitive about not leaving anyone out. But as I look back on that incident, it isn’t my remorse that stands out like it has in the past; it’s Deb’s gentle, loving gesture.
Whenever I’m in community for an extended period of time, I’m hyper-aware of my faults. I notice how often I draw attention to myself or cut someone off in conversation. All my shortcomings stack up until I’m convinced that’s all anyone sees. But each day, in one interaction after another, I heard that what I feared wasn’t true. People weren’t blind to my faults, but they weren’t blinded by them either. They could see me, and they liked what they saw.
This was how God loved me: with embodied kindness and compassion, without disapproval. This was the gift I received from Living from the Heart.
God would seem to be too occupied in being unable to take Her eyes off of us to spend any time raising an eyebrow in disapproval. ―Gregory J. Boyle,
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