The Holy Places Where Love Can Begin

Allowing yourself to be loved is scary. Last week I sent out an e-mail to a group of friends asking for their help with various tasks—grocery shopping, laundry—while I’m recovering from surgery. After hitting “send,”  and waiting for what felt like a long time for a response, I had some terrible moments of, “Well, no one really cares.” “They have just said they want to help cause that’s what you’re supposed to say.” I had to remind myself that not everyone checks their e-mail every five minutes like I do, that my friends had to check their calendars, and that surgery was still three weeks away and some of the tasks I was asking for help with were even farther out than that. But it took a certain self-awareness—that I still look for any excuse to prove that people don’t really love me—for me to take a deep breath and realize the spiral I was allowing myself to fall into.

It’s almost easier to expect—and perhaps even to want—disappointment than it is to expect people to show up. With disappointment you get to eschew your responsibility to others. If they don’t love me, then I’m not responsible to be loving back. And if I don’t have to be loving back, then there’s no possibility of me disappointing them when I’m mean or cranky or thoughtless. There’s no possibility of me feeling unworthy of their love, their care, their tenderness.

Given that risk,  I suppose the question is: Is being loved worth it? And I don’t mean someone loving you just when you’re your best self, but being loved head-to-toe, inside and out, through misunderstandings and misapprehensions, through mistakes and flaws and disappointments and disconnects. Is love worth letting someone close enough to  you to see you as you are?

I suppose if you think there’s nothing in you worth loving, which is the story I told myself for decades to understand why my parents were so emotionally selfish, then you’ll always want to keep people at a distance. But the reality is, the only way to discover/embrace/ understand that you are worth loving, even in brokenness, the only way to see that there is no monstrous something lurking at the heart of you that disqualifies you from being loved, is to somehow find a shred of bravery to let people in. And to also be courageous enough to keep looking until you find those people who are quite willing and able to both see you as you are and to love you as you are.

There will be many false prophets, so to speak, along the way. My experience has been that brokenness attracts brokenness, and, in some ways, no matter how perfect the childhood, how loving the family, we are all broken simply by virtue of being human, and having “fallen short of the glory of God.” But if you can find the courage to let yourself be loved, I think, I hope, you’ll eventually start to see that while there are those who try to get a fingerhold on your cracks and crevices to break you further, to keep you in the club of the mean and the scared and the closed-off, there are also those who are willing to pour into you what they know of wisdom, of their own healing. There are those who will take from their own stores of the balms of kindness, of understanding, of forgiveness and deploy them in service of your healing. They are the ones who will seek out your cracks, your crevices, your jagged places because they know those are the holy places where love can begin.

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Posted on January 21, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wow! That hit me at the core. Please keep writing. Your words are such a blessing.

  2. You have a knack for saying just the right thing at just the right time. Disappointment is so much easier to deal with than love. Experienced that today –got an “What time? I’m there” when I expected a “let me check…” and I burst into tears.

  3. There are things about me I want no one to know. Things I want to keep secret and sacred, things ancient, lost and beyond recovery. Things I would much rather forget.

    Like how it feels like to lie on the floor with one blanket and your pillow would be hope that one day will be a better day. Dreams of an African child.

    There are things I would like to withhold and keep in in silence just so they may never be spoken. Feel me? Like being young and being pregnant, thrown out of home and raising a child all by your own while you sit on death row hoping your day may not come any time soon just so you can see the seed flourish.

    There are things I would rather not speak of , things I’d rather have hidden. Like the big O on my underwear, I haven’t bought a new one in one year.

    There are things which I would rather not speak of , the toil , the labour , the struggle , the anguish, the heartache and the turmoil!! GOD!! Do you feel me? Do you feel me?

    See in my life I’ve seen more than roses, seen more than thorns too you see. All I want is just for you to look at me beyond the broken pieces and see me.

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