The greatest gift my friendship can give you is the gift of your Belovedness. I can give that gift only insofar as I have claimed it for myself. Isn’t that what friendship is all about: giving each other the gift of our Belovedness?
If it is true that we not only are the Beloved, but also have to become the Beloved;
If it is true that we not only are children of God, but also have to become children of God;
If it is true that we not only are brothers and sisters, but also have to become brothers and sisters…
If all that is true, how then can we get a grip on this process of becoming… what is the nature of becoming?
This is such an important question because it forces us to let go of any romanticism or idealism and to deal with the utter concreteness of our daily lives:
Becoming the Beloved means letting the truth of our Belovedness become enfleshed in everything we think, say, or do. It entails a long and painful process of… incarnation.
From “Life of the Beloved“, by Henri Nouwen.
Nouwen so richly understands the process of becoming the Beloved because this comes out of his own anguished life, and his attention to the love of God through Christ. He says that as long as “being the Beloved” is little more than a beautiful thought nothing really changes:
What is required is to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence and, bit by bit, to close the gap that exist between what I know myself to be and the countless specific realities of everyday life. Becoming the Beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am, in fact, thinking of, talking about and doing from hour to hour.
As Nouwen says, “I can give that gift only insofar as I have claimed it for myself.” Here I am at this stage of my life finally “claiming it for myself” – being quick to say that this claiming isn’t based on how wise, or smart, or worthy I think I am (for those who most know they are beloved are those who inspired Nouwen: the physically disabled & developmentally delayed adults of L’Arche).
No… my claim comes through the hands of the body of Christ whose friendships help reveal this to me.
Isn’t that what friendship is all about: giving each other the gift of our Belovedness?
For more of my own experience of learning to become my Abba’s beloved, and a friend of God, see: “Belonging.”