In my theology classes last year, my first and last day reflections were centered around a quote by Marianne Williamson. I used the quote twice because I imagined on the first day students were distracted as they got back into the routine. I also wondered if they could really understand the depth of the quote on the first day. I used it again on the last day, because I wanted them to know that it was an important enough message to be repeated. I also hope that they understood it a little better than at the beginning of the semester and that they believed it to be true, not only about themselves, but about everyone around them. If students left my class with no other wisdom than that contained in the quote, I'd be satisfied.
You've probably seen or heard it before. It's even been used in a few movies:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Last night as I was thinking about the abundant affirmation I have received for my upcoming journey, I thought of the quote. I thought about how fortunate I am to have so many people who help me to believe that I am powerful, that I am "meant to shine," that I was "born to make manifest the glory of God."
Then I thought about so many people who don't have a support system, who have never been told that they are powerful or that they are children of God. In fact, some have been told quite the opposite, that they are worthless, stupid, nothing. I think of students who felt that they had nothing to offer (even when their gifts were so clear to me). Some had been told that they are powerful, but that other "different" people are worthless. They struggled when I suggested that we really are all children of God. However, some boys, by the end of the semester, saw the truth of the quote and I'm so glad. Others were still grappling with it. I gave them copies of the passage, so that when they were feeling low, they could read it again and believe. I hope they do.
Last night I was thinking I'd need to find my copy of the quote to carry with me. This morning a friend gave me a beautiful card and in it, as a part of her message, she wrote that two quotes had come to her heart as she thought about my journey. One was by Julian of Norwich. The other? Let's just say I don't need to look for my copy any more.