“Jesus lives and teaches belonging in the womb of Unchanging Love. From our dwelling place in the heart of Love we are free, we can be generous and welcoming while always remaining at home.” – Henri Nouwen
I’ve been feeling pretty lonely the past little while. It often makes me think that something’s wrong with me or that maybe I don’t have enough close friends. But then I’m reminded that this is really just part of the human condition. We all feel lonely at times. Even in a crowded room. And sometimes we feel alone especially in a crowded in room. I get the sense that when the feelings of loneliness overwhelm it’s because I’m trying to “make my home” in someone else’s heart or in some other activity or accomplishment.
It’s a comfort for me to picture my heart inside of God’s. It’s there that I feel safe and secure. Ian gave me a necklace a couple years ago. When you look at it you see one heart inside another. It says “In My Heart” and then when you lift up the top layer the full message is revealed: “I Carry Your Heart In My Heart.” Of course this is taken from the beautiful poem by E.E. Cummings. However, I wonder if E.E. Cummings may have been thinking of Scripture when he wrote the poem. After all God did say that “He carries us close to His heart” in Isaiah 40:11.
“When The Heart Waits” by Sue Monk Kidd has become one of my favourite books. It has helped me through some very dark periods. In the book she tells a moving story and I have it framed in a shadow box next to the necklace that Ian gave me. I’d like to share with you:
“When I was pregnant with my daughter, my son Bob was three years old and scared of the dark. We put a nightlight in his room, but sometimes he still cried out for me in the middle of the night.
One night as I held him against me to comfort him, he touched my rounded abdomen and asked, “Mama, is it dark inside there where my little brother is?” (He was convinced that his sister was a boy.)
“Yes,” I said, “it’s dark in there.
“He doesn’t even have a nightlight, does he?”
“No, not even a nightlight,” I said.
Bob patted my abdomen. I patted him. Finally he asked, “Do you think my brother is scared all by himself in there?”
“I don’t think so, because he’s not really alone. He’s inside of me.” Suddenly I had an inspiration. I said, “And it’s the same way with you.
When it’s dark and you think you’re all by yourself, you really aren’t. I carry you inside me too. Right here in my heart.”
I looked into his face, wondering if he understood what I meant. He didn’t say anything; he simply lay back down and went to sleep. That was the last time he called out in fear of the night.
When we enter the spiritual night, we can feel alone, encompassed by a fearful darkness. What we need to remember is that we’re carried in God’s womb, in God’s divine heart, even when we don’t know it, even when God seems far away. That’s been my growing awareness. First God was only “up there.” Then God was “all around.” Next I began to see that God was also “within me.” And now, most shocking of all, I was finding that I am and always was “within God.”
If you are feeling lonely or afraid today, my hope is that you will find peace in knowing that you belong to God and He loves you.