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Givenness & Belonging

Updated: May 16, 2020

"Do you suppose it's possible for us to belong to someone before we've met them?"

I have not understood the word "family" more than in the past few months; My family in Spain showed me a love so accepting that I felt myself growing into myself - I felt my old, learned layers of self-judgment and fear shed off as I was becoming more "me" than I'd been before. Likewise, more His.

Rachel once said, "being close to God is being close to who you are."

Being close to people who are close to God, likewise. Jesus lives in us, after all (Galatians 2:20).

Family, too, here in Baltimore. Gallery Church Sowebo has been family almost beyond my ability to convey. People have welcomed me into their homes, into their lives, into their hearts: and I've welcomed them likewise (sans a physical home to welcome into).

The beauty of hospitality and welcoming in two very different countries, with very different people. Families. Family.


I read Pope John Paul II's Meditation on Givenness in preparation to read Theology of the Body. All of everything - all things in existence - are gifts given by a loving God. Humans are the only creature in existence that can actually be a gift to ourselves. Not only a gift to the world, to other people, but we can actually accept our own lives and existence as a gift.

He writes about how we can have a kind of holy predisposition towards someone - someone that another person may find completely unlovable, we find to be lovable. This is a gift from God: we are seeing with His eyes.

Anthony de Mello in The Way to Love puts it another way: our disliking of others is only a result of our programming and what we believe to be "good" or "bad." So someone that we dislike or that bothers us - may be completely unbothersome to another person. This is a curse from culture: we are seeing with distorted eyes.

So whether you believe that humans are inherently unlovable and God gifts us with eyesight to love - or that you believe humans are inherently lovable and society curses us with eyesight to dislike - we come to the same place.


"How, then, shall we live?" What the heck is that from? Maybe this

. The phrase comes to mind all the time. As a person who often gets trapped in a cycle of thoughts and emotions (cue my favorite humorous Enneagram post, 4w5 human here) - I touch the ground in asking, "how do I live?"

Thoughts and emotions without actions will simply die with us, which is sometimes okay. Not everything in us needs to live on.

~Leonard Cohen, The Future

Holy crap I just looked up the context of those lyrics for the first time and WOW.

Moving along.

How then, shall we live?

Head in the clouds, feet on the ground.

All these idealisms gotta grow feet.

Hands, to serve with.

Somewhere, sometime

when we're able to

put down our notebook

and take up our Cross

to walk, walk, walk

alongside the broken

maybe we keep

it in our minds

and at our hearts

so we don't have to take

this painful, learning step

into action

where we can so easily

get it so wrong

"better to never step

than to step wrong"?

one theory

or else

"better the walking

than the standing still

waiting forever at the

crossroads of a choice

instead leaving only

options upon options"

I'm choosing

I'm acting

I'm living


And again the answer comes, "to live is Christ." Yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

People die. Love doesn't.

Many thanks and much love,



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