“If I were to answer it just kind of bold-faced, I would say what scares me is that I’m going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I’m really not lovable, that I’m not worthy of being loved. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with me.” (See the original from Harper’s Bazaar)
What do you do with that deep fear of personal worthlessness? Where can you take that? When I find the courage to pray out of this sadness, I ask to know of God’s love for me. Interestingly God gives me this scene at the end of John’s Gospel. The resurrected Christ cooks breakfast on the beach while his disciples return from a fishing trip. After some bread and fish, Jesus sneaks off with Peter.
“Do you love me?” Jesus asks.
“Of course,” Peter quickly responds.
Jesus asks again, “Peter, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
As I imagine it, he’s heard it twice and he knows it in his head, but Jesus’ heart has to ask Peter a third time.
St. Ignatius offers us a form of prayer where we imagine ourselves in a scene from scripture. In these Contemplations, we notice what we think and feel and desire while we participate in the scene. As I contemplate this scene, I end up watching the two talking from a distance. I pity Jesus because I know what it’s like to need to ask over and over and over “Do you love me?”
It is that image of Jesus on the beach, begging Peter for affirmation that sticks with me. What I notice is that God doesn’t take away my sadness. Rather, Jesus joins me. I’m not alone. Demi probably knows as well as I do how that feeling never fully goes away. But deep in that doubt, dark and alone; Jesus will come find us.