One morning last week I ran across this gem by author and poet, Mark Nepo: “Each person is born with an unencumbered spot—free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry—an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God.”
Wait a minute, I thought. He’s talking about my spiritual belly button!
And he’s not even being a little bit silly. His words remind me that as surely as my mother gave birth to my body, God gave birth to my soul. I was made by Love, in love, for love. And a sacred place in the center of my being is permanently marked by the memory of this making.
For me, this center is where I connect to my truest, most authentic self. And when I live from this place, I find freedom from the tyranny of my ego.
To be honest, some days, this knowledge—that I really am born of God and some remnant of his perfect divine spark still lives in me—is the only part of my life that makes sense.
The same morning I read about my spiritual belly button, I also ran across this line from Brennan Manning: “God’s love is based on nothing, and this is where we find our security.”
If “based on nothing” leaves you feeling anything but secure, consider this: Because God’s love for us isn’t based on anything, nothing can shake it.
Taken together, the two quotes suggest a way to think about God’s love that goes way beyond the human version we so often project onto him. For example, we tend to think of love as a feeling we have in response to another person. But feelings can be fragile and fleeting, so we easily get insecure.
How many of us have ever said to a spouse or lover: “But why do you love me? Tell me all the reasons.” And the person will try. They’ll list some of our finer qualities and more endearing quirks.
But to God, love needs no “whys,”because it is Who he is. If God could find in me even one reason to love me, it would be devastating, since it would mean that with a little more thought on his part, or a little worse day on mine, he could find a reason not to.
More and more, when I don’t feel God’s love, I’m learning not to ask him to remind me of all the ways I’m special (which only appeals to my ego anyway). Instead, I make time to sit in silence with him, naked in my soul as the day I was born, with nothing to say and nothing to give and nothing to show and nothing to prove my worth.
Only then does some deep part of me understand that I can’t do anything to make God love me more or less. In that moment, I manage to touch that umbilical spot of grace that marks the truth of Whose I am.
And it saves me.
P.S. I realized late that this piece is one side of the two sided miracle of God’s love. His love is based on nothing, but it’s anything but an impersonal force. This post is the other half of the story: Smitten