Answer

Last night I spent a long while in brooding. I’ve been tired and downcast for a long while, with brief reaches up into the sunlight, but I can’t find my way back up to live there yet. In the end, I yelled at God.

I told him I don’t understand why I didn’t get to grow up feeling loved and and accepted, just for myself. I don’t understand why I don’t get to experience love now. I don’t understand, and I hate it. I want to experience love for once, to have it be more than a brittle fact that I’m “supposed” to know and feel, and don’t. I want to know that I’m loved and feel it and be at rest and happy in that. I want to feel this from God and I want to feel it from other human people, and I don’t. I hate that this is true. I don’t understand what God is doing with this life he’s made for me, and I hate experiencing the pain of it.

There were tears and yelling and more tears. In the end, I left the answer up to him, because I have to. I can’t command God to do anything. I told him, you can heal this pain and let me experience love, if you want to. If you don’t want to, then you won’t. Either way, I will serve God: I will honor him and serve him for the sake of having given me life and redeemed it. Honor is due for that, and I will honor him, regardless. But honor isn’t love, and I can’t generate love out of nothing. I will serve, but I can’t promise to love.

I went to bed downhearted, and got up the same. I lifted myself partway up out of darkness by following the morning routines that take care of my body, and by deciding that I must learn to love myself, whether or not anyone else does.

After breakfast, God showed me his answer, or what may be the start of an answer. First by a thoughtful writer in my RSS feed, and then in a TED Talk by a “researcher-storyteller” named Brené Brown. (It’s 20 minutes long, and well worth watching.)

There are two things in it which explain to me why I don’t experience love:

The primary difference between people who experience a great deal of love and acceptance, and people who always struggle to experience any of those things, is the belief that one is worthy of being loved and accepted. I have never really believed this. I don’t really believe it now.

The key to making connections with other people (which is what we human people are designed to do) is to courageously risk vulnerability. I never risk real vulnerability. Nobody gets to my insides, in any significant way. I will not let anyone have the opportunity to ridicule or reject me, based on the things I hold dearest.

I don’t experience love because I close off the possibility, myself. I starve myself of what I desperately need, and then wail to the heavens in my misery.

But I have been answered by God, when I cried out to his heaven. I must hope he has more in mind. Are these things able to change? Even in me, can I believe the possibility of change? The alternative doesn’t bear thinking of: a long, cold life of joyless duty and loneliness. That isn’t in the least what I want. I just don’t know how to change the things that would take me there.

Maybe God still has more in mind. Maybe even yet he does, even for me.

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2 comments so far

  1. Kim on

    I love you Cris, just the way you are.

    Now remember that the next time you’re feeling “insufficient”.

    You already are loved, you just have to remember it every moment until you see the you I do.

    And, as I have had ample evidence today, loving someone gives them the power to hurt you, but the alternative is not acceptable. Opening yourself to the possibility of love invites love and it starts with you.

  2. Dawn on

    This: “courageously risk vulnerability.” For me, that’s what it took. And acting “as if.” And expecting well.

    I think acknowledging all of this, and asking for help is a GREAT thing!


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