Monday, July 09, 2012

Being Is More Important Than Having

Linda, with her piano & vocal students, 2012

The good parent loves their child not for what the child can give to them, but simply because this person, in their empirical being, is their child. They have a child. But their child, as a baby, can give them nothing in terms of productivity. And, the baby has no material goods that benefit them. The baby adds no value in terms of its doing and having.

Having this baby can and should make them joy-filled. But their joy will not be because of what the child can give them. To the contrary, their work load and responsibilities have drastically increased. Having this baby causes their lives to change. Now, more than ever, their individual lives are less their own.

Whatever worth the child has is only in its being. Not in its doing. And not in its having.

When we go alone, in solitude, to a quiet place to pray, God will show us that he loves us, not for what we bring to the table, not for what we do, and not for what we have. We possess no instrinsic good that God needs. This is important.

Henri Nouwen writes: "It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the results of our efforts." (Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing, 43)

Over the years, as I have been privileged to coach Jesus-followers to dwell in that solitary secret place with God, I have seen, over and over, God tell them: "I love you." I experience this myself. This love of God sustains me, since as I grow older, whatever miniscule human abilities I had are wasting away.

When the music fades. When all has slipped away. What then shall I do?

I simply come.

God loves us for who we are.

In the God-relationship, and in any human relationship for that matter, being is more important than having.