Thursday, February 14, 2013

Five-Minute Friday: Beloved

I'd be lying if I said my first thought when I see them, when I smell them, when I hear them, is most often Beloved.  

The man who stands several feet from the counter when he places his order for coffee, eyes cast down, as if he's aware of his own urine stench.  

The tall, lanky one who walks atop his old tennis shoes, like maybe they're too small, and wears his brown and green polyester comforter around his neck at all times, asking for one and then two and usually five cups of hot water a day.  He doesn't even know his age, or where his family are, or what day of the week it is, but we know his name.  

The ones who sit up at a corner table, passing the day in conversation, clipping nails, pillaging food, cracking jokes that sometimes offend. 

The one with the fedora hat that strolls in, nonchalant, and leaves with several bags of groceries he didn't pay for, while my blood boils.  

The one-legged man, who stripped naked in his wheelchair and wheeled through the store, leaving a trail of cigarette smoke in his wake.  The same one who has a reputation for this - and launching himself face first out of his chair to incur injuries - who the police tire of hauling off to jail so he can have a few meals before hitting the streets again. 

When other words, like nuisance or dirty or thief, I'm ashamed to admit, pop into my mind, sometimes I feel a tap on my shoulder and no one is there -- but my soul turns around.  Because he is calling.  And he calls them Beloved

photo credit
And I stand there in my own stench, begging to be scrubbed clean through my heart.  Prying eyes open to see beyond skin and smell and clothes (or lack of), beyond language and stature and behavior.  Stripped down to nothing, we are so much more.  They are, you are, I am, first and foremost, Beloved.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the community of Five-Minute Friday writers.  The prompt this week is "Beloved." 

18 comments:

  1. beautiful in a really sorrowful, touching and powerful way. Thanks for sharing. stopping over from FMF. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Tammy - you said it, "sorrowful." That's how I felt writing it and realizing how my struggle against judgment to really love is indeed sorrowful - as well as the way that many people like I described here are lost in the margins.

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  2. WOW! This is powerful! Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Beautiful!! Such visuals here, and so true. Stopping by from Five Minute Friday, ~Rebekah

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    1. Thanks for the kind words and the visit :-)

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  4. We are all his beloved. I forget that sometimes. I lived and worked in NYC so your descriptions strike a cord. How do we love like He loves...? by remembering we are no different. - Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Amen, Kimberley. I needed the reminder, too.

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  5. So glad I clicked through to this. I can see them, the ones you describe. I walked past so many of them today on my own walk into town. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I feel like you managed to speak my own thoughts better than I could today.

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    1. Happy I could put words to what's in your heart, Ali - I do love that about the writing community!

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  6. Oh yes... just this: "Stripped down to nothing, we are so much more. They are, you are, I am, first and foremost, Beloved." So good! Visiting from Lisa-Jo's today!

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    1. The Spirit has a lovely way of reminding me of his heart through writing... it's humbling. Thanks for visiting here!

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  7. My favorite "beloved" writing....you spoke to my heart. If we would always see people through Jesus' eyes.

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  8. You've captured such an uncomfortable yet beautiful truth here: that WE don't get to decide who is "Beloved." In the end, we are all unloveable and unlovely, and yet He loves us just the same AND expects us to be His hands and feet to show love to others in return. But how often do we fall short of this? Oh my, holy conviction! Great exploration of today's FMF word.

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    1. Oh Erin, I like so much how you said that - "WE don't get to decide who is "Beloved." Wow. It is indeed an uncomfortable and beautiful truth that I seem to need to hear again and again.

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  9. My dear friend, this is beautiful! It hit me powerfully when I first read it, and now. This line: "And I stand there in my own stench, begging to be scrubbed clean through my heart...." How thankful I am that in these few minutes you both elevated the dignity of the ones you describe here and also laid my pride low, for how can we really know what it is to be beloved if we do not first recognize that from which we've come. Each and every one of us. I love you, beloved, and your big, seeing heart.

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    1. Thank you for seeing my heart in this, as my pride is also laid low. Since writing this, I've been challenged several times with the men that steal right under my nose, to not look at them with judgment in my heart and label them as someone they're not in God's eyes. It's incredibly humbling.

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