As our group of confirmands and mentors gathered with Mary and the staff for a closing exercise, I was struck once again by Mary's deep faith. She told the group that she tells her congregation, her staff, and those who receive services from City Reach this: "No matter what you have done to others, either by accident or on purpose, no matter what you have done to yourself, either by accident or on purpose, no matter what has been done to you by accident or on purpose, you are good. " She went on to explain her theory that all people, regardless of their experiences, want to be good, and need for others to see their goodness. My heart leapt at the thought of such a simple and profound statement having such a lasting and healing impact. This is a foundation of all spiritual practices, but often gets overshadowed by other "rules" or agenda. This simple Namaste( the best/divine in me sees the best/divine in you, commandment/golden rule(love your neighbor as yourself) can extend even farther as we live those words. When we can look past the way a person looks, where he or she lives, whom he or she loves, what he or she may have done or left undone, and simply see the good, we are living our words.
As the beauty of Mary's words washed over me, the staff walked around the circle with bottles of hand sanitizer. A staff came up to each of us gathered, offered us some hand sanitizer to cleanse away any thoughts or insecurities to the contrary, and spoke the words "You are good.". The man who came to me spoke my name and made eye contact, reducing me to grateful tears. I felt cleansed of my misconceptions, shortcomings, judgments and fears, and felt the powerful impact of his words. Mary explained that her work is hard. It makes her tired, angry and overwhelmed as much as it brings her peace and joy. At the end of each day, she stops and cleanses her hands with hand sanitizer as she enters her home, telling herself that she is good.
Today as you read these words, as you go about your day, as you lose your patience, put down a colleague, mutter under your breath, feel insecure, get lost in overwhelm, cry out in disbelief, nurse a hurt, rejoice at good news, laugh with a friend, love your spouse, hug your child, take time to stop and remind yourself that YOU are good.