And who do you think you are sauntering along five feet up in the air, the ocean a blue fire around your ankles, the sun on your face on your shoulders its golden mouth whispering (so it seems) you! you! you!
—Mary Oliver, "On Thy Wondrous Works I Will Meditate (Psalm 145")
You Are Amazing
You are a world of amazement -- a universe of jaw-dropping, eye-popping, breathless awe. It doesn't matter what you look like or what you accomplish in this world or who you know or how much you have. You are an original work of art. You are loved. You are accepted. You were created for joy.
I think parents should say this every single day to their children, starting with tiny babies and never letting up through the angst of teen years and beyond. The world is battering. We often feel ashamed, misshapen, misunderstood, and insignificant. For some, these feelings can rise to a crisis point in early years or play out sadly in middle age; they can be cruelly exacerbated by racism and bigotry. There are people who will never accept you as they seek to "put you in your place." But your place is front and center in the meaning of the universe!
In the spiritual alphabet "Y" is for you because spirituality needs to root itself firmly in the soil of unconditional love and divine inhabitation of you -- whoever you are.
In process theology, "you" is not only you, a person, but the You who loves you to distraction. It is the divine dance of recognizing "You" within "me" and in every "you, you, and you" you encounter. You are not an island, an isolated fact, a lonely outpost of desires, or a billiard ball bumping up against others. You are more like a jewel in a net, as in "Indra's net" in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition in which a single, glittering jewel rests in each “eye” of a vast net that makes up the universe -- each jewel reflecting all the rest. You are like this: a jewel in the "eye" of God, lighting up the world by your relation to all the other jewels. You are part of something big and beautiful and wholly divine.
God Digs You (Psalm 139)
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made," says the Psalmist, "intricately woven in the depths of the earth." This is you: wonderful, intricate, mysterious, born in the womb of earth. In that tender song from the Hebrew Bible, we see that God does not love anonymously, as in Dear Anonymous (I can never remember your name), I think you're great. What good would that be? To be anonymous to God?
Oh, no. Divinity gets personal. The dance of first and second person pronouns in Psalm 139 echoes the divine-human dance of intimacy and love. "O God," the Psalmist begins, "you have searched me and known me. You know when I lie down, you are acquainted with all my ways."
To be searched and known is to be excavated thoroughly, a divine archeological discovery that goes deeper as we grow and change and rise and fall. You might be bored with you and all your inner melodramas and angst, but you are endlessly fascinating to God. God knows you. God searches you. God "digs" you!
Spirituality is, according to Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, an I-Thou relationship. If it were just "I" and I-alone, we would fall into a solipsistic world that does not regard anything outside oneself as true or worth noting. The "I" needs a "You." We know this to be true everyday of our lives. We fall in love; we make friends; we pray. We may even devote our life to God, the Great You in whom we live and move and have our being.
When we surrender to the Great You, the skinny "I" widens out to include the lavish expanse of You; it then cascades out to you and you and you! It quickly escapes the confines of humanity, reaching all creatures born of the earth. The red cardinal at my window is "you." So is the industrious ant and the lowly beetle.
Once we catch hold of this Great You who searches and knows you and me and the woodchuck who roams my backyard, we begin to experience the I-Thou wonder in everything and everyone around us. It's like falling in love, when you see the beloved everywhere you turn. In Tales of the Hasadim, Martin Buber expressed it this way:
Where I wander - You! Where I ponder - You! Only You, You again, always You! You! You! You! When I am gladdened - You! When I am saddened - You! Only You, You again, always You! You! You! You! Sky is You, Earth is You! You above! You below! In every trend, at every end, Only You, You again, always You! You! You! You! Yes, you who question your earthly worth and your cosmic significance, take note! You are a jewel caught in a divine net of relentless, persistent, inescapable love. Such knowledge is too wonderful! Amazing, really. Just like you.