That’s what our little girl said two nights ago, during our supper time prayer. We took turns giving thanks to God for our meal, for loved ones, and for whatever we wanted to share. When it came to be her turn, she thanked God, “For finding this family for me” and then she looked at Gina and then at me and said, “And thank you for wanting me.” Gina and I, in the midst of some tears, said to her, “Yes, we do want you. We love you.” Saying “I love you” is, of course, important to her. It’s important to all of us. There is something different, however, in saying to our little one, “I want you. I choose you. You are mine.” She needs to know that she is chosen, wanted, that she belongs. We all do, really.
I guess maybe that’s something a lot of us can take for granted – being wanted and loved and chosen by those in our family. Families, of course, come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and configurations. However, bottom line, as the poet Robert Frost put it so well in Death of a Hired Man, “Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.” We all should be so blessed to have a place where, when we go there, we will be taken in.
The sad truth, however, is that there are people, families, institutions and structures that can reject, neglect, abuse and betray. This kind of hurt can go to the very core of who we are, to our essence, our souls. Faith in our loving God can be such a gift in these times of loss and turmoil. Sometimes that faith is what helps us get through. Sometimes God works through the transforming love of another to bring us a sense of peace, belonging and home. Learning to trust again, to be open to healing and to hope are all, in themselves, gifts and graces. It is one way we experience the dynamic of the cross and resurrection.
May we know and feel that we are wanted, chosen and possessed by the One who created us in love and redeems us.
“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you…and formed you…. Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the raging waters, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned; the flames shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God…you are precious in my eyes and glorious and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2,3a, 4a)