“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God,
I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing;
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.
Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’
Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland
where I have wandered so long.”
Every once in a while God will set a reminder before us.
I was made aware of that little fact yesterday when I resumed the daunting task of cleaning
out our basement and purging a lifetime of junk.
In one, of what seemed to be a million old boxes, I found a letter addressed to a much younger me,
written in very familiar handwriting.
It was such a familiar and distinct handwriting…
handwriting that has now been long not seen, such that I felt a sudden prick to my heart
and a watery warmth rushing to my eyes.
Tender familiarity can trigger such an effect.
The letter was addressed in January of 1985…shortly after I had turned 26.
It was addressed two years following when I had married and a year before my mother
would die prematurely.
It was also three years before our son was to be born.
Reading over the letter I could only imagine what I had written prior to receiving such a
For you see, I had spent years writing to this individual…pouring out both heart and soul.
Writings that came from a youthful and angst-filled teen to a seemingly arrogant
know-it-all college coed to that of a young naive teacher and equally naive newlywed.
We had a common bond, this person and I—an intertwining thread that forever
linked us together…
For we were both products of adoption…along with all that that entails.
He was a good 40 years older than I was and had lived, experienced and learned from much
of what I was currently struggling to come to terms with.
It wouldn’t be until today…nearly 35 years after that letter was written that I would
finally come to a greater depth of knowledge and understanding—
along with a much-awaited peace…
If you know me, you know that this letter was written by the Dean.
The Very Rev. David B. Collins, the Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip.
Or the man I always addressed a godpoppa.
This particular letter was written when he had recently retired after
nearly a quarter of a century as the rector to that large Episcopal church.
And like I say, there is no telling what I had first written to him to have received
such a lengthy response…but there is one part of his letter that I want to share because
it speaks to all of us, adopted or not…it simply speaks to us as children of a loving
God and Father.
“I just want to answer your last letter very directly.
Part of it I can understand as an adopted child–that set-up for rejection so that
no matter what is done (or more what is not done) is seen as one more rejection one more
proof that I don’t count, no one really cares, etc.
You must know that you have always had a special place–not only as a Goddaughter,
but as a dear and loved friend.
One of the difficulties I have (which you may not share)
is a problem relating to expectations laid on me in such a way that no matter what
I do or say–somehow it is never enough,
and therefore I have failed, been proven inadequate, etc.
The truth is that there is a real and caring relationship between us,
and a deep one that includes Ginny, too.
[Ginny was the Dean’s wife and who I considered my godmother]
But it can never be that closet, lovingest, caringist,
one that on the Lord Jesus can give.
Part of your heart must always be empty,
because it is an empty space in His shape and size.
All the rest, all the rest,
are going to fail to meet our expectations..
So in a nutshell—there is but only one certain space within our hearts,
a space within all of our hearts, that is only one particular size, one particular shape
that only one, and one alone, can fill…
If you feel empty, if you feel wanting, if you feel that something in your life
it is because there is a space that is carved out in your heart in which only
one thing can fit—and that one thing is your God, your Creator, your father…
the only One who can fill that void.
If you don’t believe me…try and figure out why you feel so empty…
try to figure out why you keep working so hard to quell the rising
anger and confusion in your heart.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.