Deep Peace, Deep Love, Deep Joy
Today’s post is by Patience Robbins
For awhile now I have had a deep yearning to empower young adults. As I see the state of our world, I am so concerned that they will be prepared and ready for what they will need to address. This is such a profound longing in my heart that I pray constantly for ways that I can do this. A few opportunities emerged one summer as a surprise. One was that my 22-year-old nephew had an invitation to be a counselor for 50 eleven-year-old children from around the world at an international peace village. So he visited with my family about seven times in a few months, as the training was in the DC metro area. Another was that a college graduate came to live with my family while she interned at Witness for Peace. This also provided the opportunity for many reflective conversations about what is happening in our world and how to respond.
While at Ghost Ranch for a retreat, I thought of and prayed for all these young people. As I held in prayer my nieces and nephews, my godchildren, the adult children of my friends, and my own daughter, this is the message that came. Whether I share it verbally or through my manner of being, I want to be shouting this from the rooftops. Perhaps all of you will be drawn to share this as well:
Know that you are the beloved of God. Say it aloud, keep it in your heart and on your lips. I am made in the image and likeness of God; I am made in the image and likeness of God. I am the beloved of God. Let this take root in your being. Ponder and rest in that. Let it flow through you. You are a unique gift to the world and have a particular contribution that only you can be and give. So, be attentive—aware—listening for what that is. Live the questions: Who am I called to be for the world? What is the unique way I can serve? What is the piece that is mine to offer to the whole?
Develop the art of listening to God within you, others, the earth, those on the margins—all of creation. This is sacred listening, that deep attentiveness to what is for the essence—the truth—underneath the surface. This is an ongoing practice. In my own experience, I notice how quick I am to interrupt, give advice, analyze and judge, anything but to listen. Yet if I am willing to be open and present, what needs to be heard has space to emerge and be received, and it often comes as something new and life-giving.
Spend time with a tree, a squirrel, a daisy, let them speak to you and learn of the beauty, the wisdom, the giftedness of creation. Turn off the iPad, the TV, the computer and allow yourselves to soak in the beauty and goodness of nature and the preciousness of the people around you. This is how you will perceive and know your connection with all that is.
Begin now to share—in every possible way. Share your time, money, talents, be a part of the great flow of community, of life, of the fullness of the earth community. Let yourselves be a channel, a vessel, a lovely instrument to play music that only you can play. Do not try to accumulate more or hold onto what you have; pass it on. You are here on this planet for a short period of time. See yourself as part of a living whole, with an intricate piece that is yours and yours alone to offer. Let generosity course through you and around you as you remember the deep unity of all that is, the connectedness of all of life.
My nephew went off to Chile to teach English and our house guest went off to travel in Brazil. Both experienced a global community and are looking for their unique way to contribute to the world. I continue to pray that they and all our youth may have the wisdom and courage to live into their particular way of serving the whole. And that we all may continue to live into the deep interconnection that we share with all people and creation. Deep peace, deep love, deep joy—what more could we desire for the young?
A version of this reflection first appeared in the Shalem News, Fall 2007. If you are interested in YALLI, Shalem’s Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative, we are now taking applications for this program. Read more here.