One day, several years ago, I was sitting in an empty chapel praying and waiting for the families to arrive for the funeral of my cousin’s mother-in-law. A man who looked to be homeless, in disheveled, dirty clothing with matted hair to match, approached my pew. His shoes were worn through and he shuffled when he walked across the tiles of the old mission church in which the funeral Mass would take place. I was a bit concerned as, besides him and me, the church was empty. And I was fairly certain he was not a friend of the family.
I knew, since I’d arrived a few minutes before, that the church parking lot was also deserted. My prayers turned from prayers for the soul of the deceased to prayers of protection and peace – for myself and the man. He then boldly proclaimed to me as he now stood in the aisle facing my kneeling self, “I am the son of God.” What? I was very concerned. Jesus is the Son of God. What blasphemy! But no, what a mental health case the poor man was. I looked at him with a weak smile and ever so slight nod of the head. (Mustn’t challenge his delusion; he might become violent.) While I tried to form an appropriate response for his obviously drug addled proclamation, he continued. “And you are His daughter.” Yikes.
Humbling? Indeed. True? Of course. Just then others began arriving. I had a moment to say to this strange stranger, “Yes, I know!” I may have included, “Isn’t it wonderful?” I wish I had anyway, if that didn’t happen. He receded into the growing group of mourners who were arriving. I did not see him again. In thinking about it now, I wonder if he wasn’t a “holy fool,” some unexpected and unlikely messenger sent to share some eternal truth that will bring us closer to God. God uses all kinds to do that. (Even me sometimes. I may not be holy, but I am often a fool.)
I recall that scenario today to share some thoughts I’ve been having lately about the wondrous reality that being a daughter of the King really is. I shouldn’t take it for granted.
I’ve been hearing a lot about gender pronouns of late. I have to admit, I don’t get it. I’m an old fashioned girl who has always believed what we read in the Old Testament, that “male and female God created them.”
In pondering what my terms for myself are, I’ve come up with the following. First, it will not surprise you, traditionalist and Christian that I am, to learn that my gender preferences are she/her. But what matters most to me is the other ways I think of myself and how I refer to myself. I think I’m going to start placing these titles in my signature block.
It will look something like this:
Daughter of the king / child of god
It seems to me that these two qualifiers really sum up the truths of which I am most proud and for which I am eternally grateful. If you are a woman, I invite you to consider using these, as well. A man, of course, would state ‘Son of the King / Child of God’ but you get the idea.
It also says in Scripture that we are each God’s child. Each of us. We are beloved, we are His daughters and sons. God is love and He loves us more than we can fathom, and loves us as we are. There is no need to strive for perfection. God’s love for you is perfect. In your love for God you may long to please Him and so change your ways if they cause harm to yourself, others, and to your relationship with God, but that will only happen with your permission, through God’s grace. Just let God love you and return the absolute privilege of loving Him back. When you do that, you next will find yourself loving other people. It’s a beautiful thing.
You may have feelings of inadequacy or even unworthiness. You may have concerns about how all this ‘works.’ Don’t worry. Just start with love. And that begins by talking to the Invisible God who is actually all around you and looks on you with love every second of your life. My advice is talk (that’s prayer) and listen (be still).
And know that you are loved, child of God.