They Can Never Take That Away

As my sisters and I celebrated Christmas, I thought about the year I got my first bicycle. I was seven and lost no time learning how to ride it. By the next day, I was caught up in the sheer delight of flying like a bright red streak over the streets of our South Houston neighborhood.

When the bike mysteriously disappeared a few days later, I was told that Santa Claus himself had come and taken it back because I’d been seen riding it through puddles of water in front of our house.

I didn’t regret what I had done, and certainly wasn’t buying the Santa story, but I couldn’t help wondering why something that brought me so much joy would cause my bike to be taken away. With the wind in my face and my legs stretched wide, I had a marvelous time splashing through the water and knew that I would happily do it again if given the chance. After all, wasn’t that part of what a bicycle is for?

Not long after that, I discovered a gleaming red fender peeking out from under a tarp in the back of our neighbor’s garage. When I reported my discovery, I was told another fanciful story that Santa had left word that I could have my bike back if I promised not to ride through puddles again. I’ll leave you to decide whether or not that promise was kept.

My point in sharing this is that like many people, I developed a childhood belief that what is given can be taken away just as quickly. It was an idea that haunted me for years.

Decades later, at the end of my time in graduate school, I had an “Aha!” that began turning my thinking around.

Two years of research and writing day and night culminated in my master’s thesis being accepted by my committee and the university with not a single change. After I shared the good news, my mentor quietly said, “They can never take that away from you, Scott. You did it and you completely own it.”

That statement helped inspire my long-running consideration of the things that can’t be taken away.

Naturally, I’m not referring to Christmas bicycles or things we write or build or accomplish or pay for. I’m not talking about the jobs we have or the roles we play, and I’m certainly not talking about the things we typically think we own.

I’m talking about those things that are always part of us and the fact that what is essential to who and what we are cannot be taken away because it is inextricably woven into the fabric of our being.

When I study the lives of people who have been through the devastation of war or abuse or deprivation or disease, or people who have spent time in captivity of one kind or another, I’m impressed that many of them came through their experiences stronger, wiser, and more patient, loving, and compassionate because something deep within them, something powerful and immovable and essential to their nature was activated and set into motion.

Because of their personal depth and focus, the pain and suffering and loneliness and heartache such people endured didn’t diminish them but served to sharpen and refine them in multiple ways.

How many of them intentionally reached deep into themselves, refusing to give away their dignity or integrity? How many of them held steadfastly to their ability to make choices and act accordingly? How many of them took their inner lives into their own hands and chose to live with purpose, offering compassion in the face of hatred, acting with kindness in the face of rejection, and consciously growing themselves, living more expansively instead of shutting down?

Knowing that what was in them is also in you and me, I offer this week’s Beautiful Questions, followed by some of the answers that come to me as I listen innately.

Here are my questions: First, what is in us that remains unshakably powerful and always connected to Life itself, regardless of what is happening to us or around us?  And second, what about us can never be taken away, no matter what?

Here’s part of what arose in me when I sat in stillness.
  • Nothing can take away our value as human beings.
  • Our connection to the Infinite can never be truly interrupted.
  • We embody the Divine, no matter what, even when we don’t think or act like it.
  • Our Luminosity–the inner Light in us as Spiritual beings–can never be dimmed or extinguished.
  • Nothing can alter or negate the fact that we are wondrously Blessed.
  • Though others may not see it and may deny it to our faces, no one can take away our Sufficiency as human beings.
  • We will always be Enough, exactly as we Are, regardless of any outer circumstance or what we tell ourselves.
  • Our Dignity is not transferable and cannot be taken from us.
  • In every moment, we are where and as we need to be.
  • Nothing can change the fact that we are always, always living in the Present.
  • Nothing and no one can take away or destroy our ability to be Loved and Nurtured as we are.
  • We are perpetually Connected to others, even when we feel or act as though we are separated.
  • Our “just right” Place in the world belongs to us alone and is always with us because we carry it with us everywhere we go.
  • Regardless of age or history or circumstance, we are always Childlike and Innocent at heart.
  • Nothing can stop us from being Divinely Cherished.
  • We are Sacred, no matter what is happening, no matter how others define us, and no matter how we define ourselves.
  • Our sense of Wonder is always available to us.
  • Nothing on earth can destroy Being Forever Loved….

The Beautiful Question podcast is written, recorded, and produced by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas as a way of paying forward to life and being fully present and engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world.

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You can also listen to it in the podcast section of his website: