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Tending Your Soul
Sacred Encounters

Cherished

Cherished. I love the sound and image that accompanies that word. Cherishing describes holding dear, loving, nurturing and protecting. I conjure up images of the Velveteen Rabbit with the word cherish. However, being cherished was not uppermost in my mind the Saturday we were conducting the opening session of a program designed to teach listening skills. The session I refer to could be compared to a couple’s counseling session, where the conversation is focused on an exchange between the two people. You begin to look at who said what, what each one heard, how each responded and what may have assisted in a more loving exchange.

This particular day I volunteered to bring a sample conversation for group examination. I wanted to be open and vulnerable before the group, allowing them insight into the difficulty I was experiencing for the demonstration. My anxiety mounted as the group gathered for this portion of the morning session. I had visions of looking pretty foolish and breathed a sigh of relief as we took a break. I headed for the restroom and as I was drying my hands, a question arose in my heart: “Why would you not expect to be cherished?” I sensed God’s gentle spirit inserting itself into the situation with this quiet question. I knew I trusted the skills of the woman who would be “counseling” me and felt an invitation to trust both her skill and her care for me. Although the group was new to me, I also sensed a level of acceptance that could be trusted. Needless to say, I rejoined the group with a lighter heart and the session proved extremely beneficial for the group – and for me.

God, I do love the way your gentle care bathed my heart that morning. Your question pierced through my anxiety, encouraging me to place myself confidently in the skillful hands of a trusted colleague. I hold this memory sacred, grateful for your healing power and presence in my life.

Reflection/Discussion:
What image, feeling, question or memory of yours surfaces as you read this story?

What is your experience of being cherished? Cherishing someone? How might that experience speak of God?