“The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw – and knew I saw – all things in God [Love] and God [Love] in all things.” – Metchtild of Magdeburg. (Italics my add)
From the children’s playroom, excited giggles can be heard. In the kitchen happy tones of adult voices can be heard talking, while smells of fresh coffee permeate the house. Gentle sounds of Christmas music fill the house. The excitement is palpable, it is Christmas day. Seven excited children sit in front of the Christmas Tree, looking expectantly at the presents piled nearly halfway up the tree.
The laughter and happiness are infectious. Wrapping paper is ripped to pieces as each child dives into their huge pile of spoils. The comparing begins as they dive into their make-believe games.
This is a memory of one of my many Christmases as a child. That year was very different for me. The three girls requested Father Christmas give them a doll. A pretty, little doll with long straight black hair that could be brushed and styled. This doll also had a special feature, it could stand on its own. As the three of us compared presents, I realized that I didn’t get a doll but the other two did!
I am not sure what happened next or how I brought attention to the fact that I didn’t get the doll, but I know that eventually I got the doll with the jet-black hair the velvet blue dress. She was lost between the hiding place and the Christmas tree, but that didn’t change the fact that I felt that I was not loved and what I really wanted, I couldn’t have. It made no difference that I eventually got what I wanted the “damage” was done in the moment of realization that I did not have want I wanted most.
This memory returned to me one sleepless, restless Saturday night. In the quietness of the house, I felt drawn back into that moment. I felt the feelings deep within as if the moment was happening all over again!
I was not loved because I did not get what I wanted, and the others were more special than me I allowed the sadness to fill my being, feeling it as deeply as if it was happening now!
Through adult eyes I can see what happened to the child and with compassion and reasoning I reframed the event. My child me, has had many, many, many of these moments that have set my programming into believing what the child observed and took on as real.
As I heard the owl hooting in a tree and the little tree frog chirping as the water gentle trickle down into the base of our water feature, I had a startling thought!
How sad is this life that the moment I was separated from my host (my mother) I began to interpret that when my needs weren’t met it was my fault! How terribly unfair!
I cry because I am hungry my parent changes my diaper and now, I am cold and hungry, my needs are not met! It must be because I am doing something wrong. For the next thirteen years I grow up with my subconscious believing that it is all my fault. I grow up believing that I am not good enough to be loved.
Many times, I still feel like that little girl. Feeling like half the world is laughing at me and the other half is just walking by and that nobody really cares. Those are the dark moments when the emotional scars and anger bubble up.
I have covered myself with shiny but heavy armour of protection just to get through the day. Every time an event happens to bring up the feelings that I am not loved, the armour becomes heavier and heavier. I keep adding protection to that armour. Sometimes the hurt leak out and hurt others around me. Nothing seems to change behind the armour until I dare to believe that even when I am in pain, I am loved. It’s a choice I make in response to the whisper deep within. I have seen what can happen if I just keep showing up, things can change, a piece of armour falls off every moment I decide to choose love over fear. To believe that I am love! I live in love, love lives in me and my fear of looking within subsides and I can love that child who did everything possible to protect me, to keep me alive.
I have woken up these last few mornings with line of a John Legend song going round and round in my mind, “…all of me loves all of you. Love your curves and all your edges. All your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you. You’re my end and my beginning. Even when I lose, I’m winning...” I am realizing with time as I gently journey down this road with curious compassion, learning to forgive and release all that happened to the child within me, I am finding that Infinite Love has always been there for me. As Henri Nouwen wrote, “You have been wounded in many ways. The more you open yourself to being healed, the more you will discover how deep your wounds are. The great challenge is living your wounds through instead of thinking them through. It is better to cry than to worry, better to feel your wounds deeply than to understand them, better to let them enter into your silence than to talk about them. The choice you face constantly is whether you are taking your hurts to your head or to your heart. In your head you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them. But no final healing is likely to come from that source. You need to let your wounds go down to your heart. Then you can live through them and discover that they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds.”
The more I dare to look at my hurt through my child eyes while loving all of me without judgement, of me or others, the more I get to believe that I am in the center of Infinite Love.