An inspiring friend recently commented on my blog (it amazes me that people actually read it!) and mentioned Psalm 139. Dutifully I trotted across the room to the squat bookcase which holds all my important books (my choir music books, poetry, the entire collected works of Laurie R King, and yes, my Bible) to look it up.
Sitting at my desk, after another glorious, golden day, I read through Psalm 139. It’s scary stuff. The Psalmist talks about being known, utterly and intimately, by God. The Creator of the Universe, the immense and vulnerable Power of love and Source of life, knows everything about the Psalmist – and about me. The Maker of the world knows when I sit and stand, hems me in on every side and keeps the palm of Its hand on me in the same way that I keep my hand on Maggie the cat when she’s safe and asleep on my lap. There is nowhere I can go to hide from what some traditions call the Compassionate One. And here’s the really scary bit: the Divine is acquainted with all my ways, knows my innermost thoughts. Knows those parts of me that I’m most proud of – that I can be kind, and generous, and a good listener. But It also knows that there are a lot of times when I’m selfish, and have compassion fatigue, and am unfriendly. Times I fail to remember that the people and beings around me are manifestations of the Sacred. Times when I lose hope. Times when I’m angry or when my pain drives away other qualities that I should be cultivating.
And here’s the real fear. I am learning that I am not worthless, that I have something to offer the world, and my family and friends. Too many people, people whose opinions I value and who are my inspirations, have told me that they value me – they can’t all be wrong. But there’s still a part of me that thinks I’m worthless, that I have no value (it’s getting smaller but it’s still pretty vociferous) and that anyone who truly knows me – including the Creator of the Universe – won’t possibly like what they see.
Now, having read Psalm 139, I have to go to sleep, and then wake up tomorrow, with this knowledge fresh in my mind: the God of the Psalms, of the glory of creation, of the vulnerability and agony of the cross, knows me and will not let me escape. But It also loves me.