SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Obviously, this means that I want to spend as much time outside as possible, so I started walking this week. My first day of walking was Sunday. I walked almost 10 miles between two different trips outside.
This past weekend and early part of this week has been particularly trying so I’ve been finding solace in putting in my ear-buds and drowning out the world. That’s why I had no problem spending almost four hours outside on Sunday. On my second walk that day, I went a route I knew but had never walked before. As I was walking down the sidewalk, I came across this message in the pavement:
It might be hard to read, but this is what it says: I wanted to tell you the name of the street where I crashed my bicycle, got my best scar, or how I went walking at sunrise to see dawn’s great evacuation of star. There must be some method, when two people meet, to explain to each other who we really are.
This got me thinking, first of all, about relationships and how we allow them to develop in our lives. What does it mean to know someone? What does it mean to care about someone? What does that look like for us as someone who cares, but also what does it look like for someone who is being cared for? Although an important conversation, it’s one saved for another time. The other thing this made me think about is my last post that listed things that made me who I am. In the middle of this unexpected existential moment, I realized that this pavement poem could have been written about me. I remember crashing my bike and I have scars. But the other thing I realized is that I haven’t seen a sunrise in a long time, so I decided that I was going to start getting up in the mornings to go walking. Not only would this be a healthy choice, but I’d be able to watch the sunrise… while walking around a lake. I just described what I’m pretty sure heaven is like.
So, to the musings from this morning…
It was surrounded by a few other chalk drawings, but this one was the largest art piece on the sidewalk. It also happened to be the message I needed to hear. Like I said, I had a difficult weekend. Work, relationships, a never-ending concern about what the future looks like… you know, all the normal stuff that normally fill my relatively large plate, but this weekend, I had a buffet’s worth. I’m not sure if it hurt or helped that Pastor Jon’s sermon could have been written for me, and I cried through the whole thing. So yeah, a pretty difficult weekend despite the comfort that people were attempting to surround me with. It wasn’t until this morning that I really felt it all come together.
Unfortunately, some of us don’t realize how loved we are by the people who matter until it seems like things are falling apart. And even then, sometimes we don’t understand, believe, or trust them. But guess what? IT’S TIME FOR THAT TO CHANGE. You know why? Because. You. Are. Loved.
You are a child of God and worthy to be loved. That is, you are beloved…allow yourself to Be. Loved. A friend of mine tweeted this to me last year. He has a way with words and has wisdom beyond his years. Mostly, he’s a very calming presence and has a beautiful assurance of God’s love that he’s not afraid to share with people. When I saw the message on the sidewalk this morning, my first thought was, “I hear this all the time.” And it’s true, isn’t it? We are always being reassured that we are loved- commercials, jewelry stores, Church. But do we believe it?
I think my friend’s words nail it on the head– sometimes we need to be reassured that we are a child of God and the promise that lies in that knowledge is God’s unconditional love (I’ll get to fellow human love in a second). That means we are sons and daughters of the only presence who can and will and does love us to extremes we can’t fathom. What this also means is that we-you, me, everyone- are worthy of love.
Did you catch that? By the simple fact that you are a living, breathing, existing child of God, you are worthy of love. Don’t get me wrong- this doesn’t mean that everyone is going to love you, nor does it mean that everyone should love you. What it means is that you get to open yourself to the people in your life and allow them to love you in the way they are going to. But this also means you need to open yourself up to that. The people that love you are going to love you despite your flaws, your shortcomings, and everything you think is wrong with you. But guess what? It’s not your decision for them to love you– It’s your decision to let them.
I only know this because I may be my worst critic, but I’m also my worst enemy. I face demons every day, some of them easier to overcome than others, and it is a fight for me to remember that yes, I am not perfect, but I have people who will continue to love me anyway. And usually, there will be nothing I can do to change that. And in that case, it’s a lot easier to let them love me instead of telling them why they shouldn’t.
See how I used the word “usually” there? There’s a reason for that- here comes the flip side of the coin. We’ve established that we all deserve to be loved, right? Well, here’s the deal- If you’re worthy of being loved, then you’re not worthy of being un-loved. People who come into our lives and spend their presence there un-loving us are the people who poison our ability to accept love from the people who are giving it freely. You need to love yourself enough to let those people go. They’re wasting their time by not loving you, and bringing you down with them at the same time. You’re not worthy of treatment like that because you are only worthy of love. Do you hear me?
YOU ARE ONLY WORTHY OF LOVE. YOU DESERVE TO BE LOVED.
YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE UN-LOVED.
It’s so easy to keep those poisonous people around and I think it’s because when and if they do show us some sort of love or appreciation, we feel like we’ve earned it. Trust me– I’ve had friendship upon friendship that has been written like this. In fact, until recently, this is almost every relationship I ever knew. When someone would treat me well or affirm me in some way, I felt like I had won the game and was able to validate our friendship by the mere fact that they were being nice to me. I still catch myself doing it every now and then. I’ll see how much I have to do before I receive some kind of notion of satisfaction from people. And let me tell you, the second I recognize what I’m doing, I snap out of it right away. Why? Because I don’t have to DO anything to win your love. God has already validated my existence, and my existence is proof that I’m worthy of love. While these poisonous relationship might feel good to have around for validation, these are the relationships that seep into your healthy relationships and start to eat away at you and everyone you’re in a relationship with. Not only is it unfair to you to have these un-loving individuals in your life, it’s unfair to everyone who loves you, too.
I know I’m the last person who should be giving any kind of guidance on this front. Like I mentioned, I struggle daily, and most of this is easier said than done. However, I believe that if you’re going to become who you are meant to be and fully embrace the love that is being offered to you by people who honestly and earnestly care about you, the first step is to figure out how to embrace your worthiness of the love they have to offer you…. and the love you have for yourself.
It seems fitting that I’m listening to the new Michael Buble album today, To Be Loved. If you’re interested, I’m WAY digging his version of Something Stupid, featuring Reese Witherspoon. I’ve loved that song since forever, and I always thought it would be a perfect go-to karaoke duet– who doesn’t love Sinatra karaoke? But Michael and Reese kill it and it is awesome. You’re welcome for that tidbit of the day.
So friends, go forth… love others, and don’t be afraid to let them love you back.