“I’m not wanted.” I can say the words and blood, it rushes fast toward face, fills with heat burn. Hot tension, pounding the words into the shame place of flesh. “Not Wanted.” Salt tears sting eyes at the rawness of the thing. Chest tightens. Heart blasting beats to the rhythm of rejection. “Not wanted.” A cut deeper than not liked, not needed, not appreciated. Words that gnarl more than ugly and stupid.
To be wanted is to be wished for. A wish come true by just being, as is. It’s the best thing in the world to be wanted. Hoped for. Dreamed of. Which is why being not wanted gouges into flesh and leaves us immobile and self loathing. It’s as if we decide to take up the rejection, right along with the one who doesn’t want me. I don’t want me either. The place where self hate, cutting, shooting up, hiding, and suicide resides. Not all self loathing and suicide of course, but some.
“Not wanted.” We’re ok to say it to each other in rather benign ways. “I need my space.” “No offense, it’s just that you’re not my type.” “Let’s ditch um, we could use a break.” Sometimes we call it self-care, sometimes boundaries, when really what is being acted out is rejection and walls. We invite people to our celebrations that make us larger than life, and if we are honest, we will admit to ourselves that the people on the fringes of our lives are not wanted. I don’t want them, and neither do you. And when I’m on the fridge, holding on best I can, but my dignity has gone in exchange for just getting through another day, I don’t want me either.
The idea of being wanted is most strongly associated with a discussion about family planning. Wanting. Wanting a baby. Choosing. And how much choosing do we really do, in our wanting. At the mercy, we are, of what arrives. And then if what has come is not what we want, distance is served. Pain is felt down to the marrow, and lasts a lifetime. Felt by the one who wanted and and was left wanting, and by the one who arrives but has not adequately filled the order. Wants a boy and gets a girl. Wants a violin player and gets a cement man. Wants a cowgirl and gets a princess. Wants a live baby to hold and instead has to hand off, already gone away to Heaven.
Belonging and being desired is such at the core of our being, that when we aren’t we crack. Then why do we do it to each other? Give a cold shoulder. Sneer. Shame. Do all we can to let others know they aren’t wanted. Kids do it naturally. “Kids are mean”, we say, and it’s true. So quite naturally we become rejectors. And God shows us another way. He shows us what it’s like to feel planned for, sought out, wanted, desired. Created special for a purpose. To be seen and treasured.
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
If I don’t want you just right, God does. I want to want you, beautiful you. Want to want your company. Want to desire your friendship. Want to love your presence. Even when I can’t always feel these ways towards you because I’m a broken human, I ask God to use my friendship with you to give you the gift of wanted. I matter to God, no matter how you treat me, and so do you. And want you to feel it. Wanted. Forever. Just what is wished for. Just right. Settled. Love-breath upon wished-for heart. Just right. And I settle into a love for rejecting you, as I know what it is to be limited in my abilities to want.