“This freedom is not free. The freedom that I experience spiritually is not free. It’s come with pain, and challenges, but I appreciate it so much more. The freedom of loving myself. The freedom of being ok in my own skin, is a feeling beyond description. And one for 29 years I never thought I would experience. And I’m incredibly grateful, I’m incredibly grateful for that.”
David Charpentier showed up as a great gift in my life some 15 years ago. Little did I know that a man with whom I had so little in common would become one of my best friends. David is a former US Army Captain and Ranger, he’s the father of three and step-father to one, his career has been in sales and operations and he’s now a stay at home dad, he’s an avid hockey player, he runs a skate sharpening business, and he enjoys hunting! Couldn’t be much more different from me.
But what David did that impacted me so much was that he loved me fully, completely, and without reservation. David was born on Christmas Eve, and so I only half-joked with his parents once that he might indeed be the Messiah! My friendship with David was the first time in my life where I felt, or allowed myself to feel, completely accepted for who I was with no need to change to suit someone’s particular set of needs. It is through this feeling of being loved unconditionally that I have come to understand the concept of God’s Divine Love for us, for mankind. And, in some ways, all of our best friends who love us with no reservation and with nothing requested in return…are the very essence of the love of Christ or of the “I-Thou” relationship.
What’s even more amazing is that David was able to give me this gift even while he struggled for years with his own sense of unworthiness, his own un-groundedness, his own secret shame. He was adopted at birth, never seen at the time by his birth mother, in a foster home for six weeks, then moved to his adoptive parent’s home. Today I realize that David’s journey is the journey of almost every human being. To grow up with some sense of doubt. To grow up with some aspect of the belief that “we are not enough or we won’t have enough.” To figure out how to come to terms with that belief, and to come out the other side stronger, more at peace.
The spiritual journey that Portraits In Faith is all about is essentially each person’s individual journey to realize that we are all worthy, we will be given all that is required for our journey, and that we are eternally connected to each other and the divine. This is what I have learned from my dear friend, David Charpentier.