Occasionally, when I am walking, I see something that catches my attention. There are not any specific things that I look for—it’s usually just something out of the ordinary than causes me to want to investigate further. If I am walking, I make mental note of it and circle back to it later to discover exactly what it is. I really don’t have favorite things to look for, I’m just curious about everything. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens while I’m listening to a speech or reading a book and I must refocus myself. That is sort of what happened when I was listening to a lecture by my friend, Dr. Paul Fitzgerald.
I may have heard him say it before, and it sounded sort of familiar, but I had to circle back to learn more about this interesting term. The wording felt good, it sounded like something I wanted; but unfortunately, I forgot about it as soon as my mind chased some other butterfly. Yesterday, I thought about the phrase again; so, I asked a couple of my friends and Dr. Paul if they could explain the phrase. I also talked about it with my Spiritual Director. She seemed like she was familiar with it and helped me unpack it—she’s good like that. So, the following is what I have come to understand about “invincible preciousness.” I hope this will be a conversation that generates some dialog.
My friend, Peggy was the first to speak up. She’s like that and I love it about her. She is honest and transparent about what is on her mind. She said, “I understand invincible preciousness to be that deep place in us that cannot be sullied by our sin, brokenness, and wounding. We are never at risk of losing our preciousness before God.” Oh man, isn’t that beautiful? Another friend, Rachel, described invincible preciousness as “coming to terms with God’s constant, loving gaze on me (or in me).” She admits that this initially made her anxious and vulnerable, but now feels warm and loved by the thought of it. Dr. Paul explains that although we may wander from the love of God, the image and likeness of God in us “is never marred by anything that happens to us…and, we carry a felt sense of the Christ that is in us.”
Richard Rohr tells a story of his colleague, James Finley, who realized these things while dealing with suffering. He states, “It is in the midst of this turning that we discover the qualitatively richer, more vulnerable place is actually the abyss-like, loving presence of God, welling up and giving itself in and as the intimate interiority of our healing journey. When we risk sharing what hurts the most in the presence of someone who will not invade us or abandon us, we unexpectedly come upon within ourselves what Jesus called the pearl of great price: the invincible preciousness of our self in our fragility.” Wow, enough said.
He stresses that when we are vulnerable and share what we think will kill us in one way or another, “…we unexpectedly come upon within ourselves this invincible love that sustains us unexplainably in the midst of the painful situation we are in.” In other words, we feel our invincible preciousness. As we learn to trust the gaze of God, it touches the hurting places and begins to dissolve the hurt until all that is left is love.
Of all places, I found this invincible preciousness in the Tea Shop. Even though, the people there probably could not have articulated it any better than me, it wasn’t necessary for them to understand it, to get it! In a gradual way, when I am able to accept love and kindness and respect from others, then I am able to recognize what I carry in my body—this felt sense of Christ and our invincible preciousness before God. Dr. Paul also encouraged me to investigate what might be blocking my awareness of this preciousness and give up control so that I might learn to live in the beauty of this truth.
I know what you’re thinking—I sometimes feel like I know less after I learn about something like this. It’s such a deep thought! But, this is one of those things that it worth pursuing! I think the people in the Tea Shop thought it was. They seemed like they had a sense of this preciousness. In that way, I hope I can be more like them. I hope one day I can understand very deeply like my friends this invincible preciousness.
** Please feel free to like, forward or comment on this blog. Part of this is for me to just sort through my beliefs and feelings, but it would mean so much more to have your input. **
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