Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Learning To Love

This is a lifetime process for some of us. I know there are those of you that have always worn your lives on your sleeves. You've never had secrets. You've never had to fear reaching out to people or worry about getting too close to them because they might find out A or B about you and not love you anymore.

Well, I have experienced all of this.

Turns out that most people are not that uptight about the secrets of others. Normal folks have issues in their families and they try to deal with them as best they can given their circumstances. The fear and shame factor only seems to effect a certain few.

I grew up in a time and with people for whom embarrassment and shame was a major issue in how we conducted our lives. We did not talk about personal problems or family issues because no one could see the elephant in the room, and even if they could see it, no one would talk about it or acknowledge it. Like the English, everyone was expected to keep a stiff upper lip and do nothing that might in some way make the family look bad or imperfect. Keeping up appearances was more important than fixing the rot inside the woodwork.

When life is this way it becomes impossible for us to learn to love correctly and in a way that is Christ-like. We do not build relationships or close friendships because we do not trust others with our junk. The result is that life becomes a hollow shell or worse, you begin to lead two lives; one public and one private and hopefully unexposable and maybe even disposable as the need arises.

I cannot live this way. I have only ever been able to live one life and I have lived it in a very closed off and private manner because I did not feel comfortable being who I am with people I love. The fear of rejection has always been in the background, looming like a monster waiting to envelope me. I got so I would rather be alone and lonely than be with people because I was so paranoid about the junk in my life that I really had no answer for.

This is why I have been in the process of putting my life out on the table for everyone to see. This is why I have written about passed friends and experiences I have had. Getting the secrets out makes all the junk seem minuscule. What I am finding is that I am not alone in my struggle and this is what I was hoping for. Most people have junk. It may not be like mine, but it is junk nonetheless. If we talk to each other about it, empathy develops, love and understanding happens and all the nasty, self loathing and fear begins to disappears. Love floats to the top and everyone can cling to it until they get to shore.

My life is so much better since I have done this and I intend to continue to do this until everyone around me ceases to be uncomfortable about their personal issues, no matter what they may be.

I know this bothers some of you. I know some of you were probably upset with my post from Sunday about Robert. Get over yourselves already. All of that happened 35+ years ago. Until I wrote it, there were like only 5 people that knew about it. It was junk that needed to be unloaded. It had to be done. I would invite you to do the same. If you want to say it to me, I am ready to listen. I will probably not have an answer for you, but I will listen, I will empathize and I will pray for you. I am no longer afraid of the junk. I've got some more myself. Maybe we could share.

Time to clean up the yard and replace the rotting woodwork. I look forward to hearing from you.

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