My daughter and I sat at the dining room table.. her fingers tapping away at her keyboard while I browsed the newspaper.. day old news depressing me. "Mom", she asked, "what did you do to regain your faith in people? How did you come back after being hurt and betrayed?'
She was referring to what had happened between me and the first person I had opened myself to in a relationship. I had shared my little 'wisdom' with her some time ago, wanting her to understand the pitfalls that lie for a young woman who may have been sheltered and just a little naive... yet a young woman who is on the brink of adulthood and quivering with the force of new-found independence.
I glanced up at her and replied "I guess it was faith in God, ultimately." She shot back "Yeah but how do you trust yourself to love again." "Hmm", I bit my lip, sending up a quick prayer to God to give me the right words to say. "Well, first of all, when you trust in God you can find the strength to have faith in others again, but more importantly, I didn't actively seek out that love.. it found me"
She looked sceptical and I tried to explain to this daughter who hides behind a wall of cool reserve, who doesn't let anyone close because she is so wary of being hurt. "Love isn't something you plan, its a gift from God.. a precious and fragile gift that you could actually miss out on by not following His Divine plan for you."
I went on to remind her of people we know who have stepped off God's path and done things that brought consequences to them.. consequences that have now rendered the gifts God had for them to become more difficult, if not impossible, to receive.
I told her of the hard choices I had to make as a young woman, that love came to me when I least expected it to, when I had already stepped onto a different path and that choices had to be made, choices that would be painful to me and hurtful to others. I believe I made the right choices.. I fulfilled His Plan for me. This may not have been possible if I had not prayed and sought counsel at the crucial point.
She pondered this, chewing her lip thoughtfully. "So, you're saying love is a choice then?" "Yes!", I replied, "Love is choosing to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, to overlook faults and flaws and extend grace to each other. Love is giving even when you don't feel like it. Waking up when you don't have to, doing something you don't need to or necessarily want to. Love is giving yourself.. all of yourself" I could see her trying to wrap her mind around the concept of sacrificial love.. she sees it played out in our marriage and parenthood, but is that enough?
"But, honey", I warned her, "in order to truly love and be loved you have to remove your masks and walls.. to let someone inside to see the real you. If you hide behind them, you wont open yourself to true love." The phone rang at that point and broke our conversation. I pray and hope that some little seeds got planted today and my daughter will truly ponder the concept of what...