Make No Mistake About It: You’re Loved!

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

I laid on my bed and bawled. My pillowcase was damp on the edge, and I was desperately trying to muffle my sobs because I knew, I just knew, If I didn’t, that my mother would hear me, and then she would walk in and gently ask, “What’s the matter, honey?”

That always makes it so much worse.

And the pain. It would never end. Because… He… [choking]… He didn’t like me!

That, my friend, is junior high. I don’t even remember that guy’s name. His face, yes. His name, no.

*****

You’ve probably doubted it. At least once in a while. You might even doubt it right now.

Everyone has that feeling from time to time. “Nobody loves me.” Sometimes, we even question whether someone likes us.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Except for Abraham Lincoln. Man, everybody loved that guy, right?” Wrong.

“Well, except for Mother Teresa. She was certainly someone everyone loved.” Wrong.

“Okay. Fine. Jesus. Everyone loved Jesus.” Wrong.

I think you get my point. Everyone has feelings of being unloved. But most of the time, those feelings are based on things we do (/or don’t do).

People didn’t get angry at Lincoln because he was a big jerk, but because he did something jerky. Or, as this example illustrates, he said something jerky:

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,”1

People didn’t think Mother Teresa was a big jerk. Probably ever. But they did (and some still do) think she was misguided (or worse, which you can see here), and some even think she’s in hell (some balderdash to that account is here—I don’t want people to think I make up everything on this blog).

As for Jesus, I think the crucifixion is all the example I need. (You can Google that, if you need to, here.)

When someone doesn’t like people don’t like someone, it’s generally because of what they do. (Cheats at poker, for example.) Not because of who they are. (Left-handed brunette.) God’s not like that. God loves us in spite of who we are.

Let’s anthropomorphize a bit here. (It makes things easier.) God never has a moment when, looking down, God says, “That Cynthia, she thinks she’s doing okay, but I’ve got news for her. She’s really quite a loser. In fact, by My standards, she does some pretty nasty things. That’s just wrong. I don’t even like her.” Guess what? That never happens. Nope. (God didn’t even say that about Hitler. I know, I wasn’t going to bring up Hitler. I hate bringing up Hitler. But, you’ll have to admit, in this case, it’s pretty useful. Because… Hitler.)

I, as a Christian, can point to various Biblical passages when I talk about how God loves me (and you).

But other faith traditions also believe this. Rabbi Shohama Harris Wiener writes poignantly of this in his article, “Does God Love Me?” For a Muslim perspective, there is this lovely piece by Quthrun Nada Djamil,  “Allah loves His servant more than a mother who loved children.”

I can feel confident that God loves me. So can you. Rest assured, you are loved.

_____

1That nonsense was uttered on September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, at the fourth debate with Stephen Douglas, the transcript of which you can read here. Obviously, Lincoln’s position evolved over time.

*****

I’m joining up with the delightful Holley Gerth for her series, “Coffee for Your Heart.” You can read about it by clicking on the illustration at the top, and read more entries (or link up yourself) here.

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Five Minute Friday: Together

Together AgainI thought it was what I wanted. To be together.

I wanted to be with someone. So badly. I guess I didn’t care who it was. And it wasn’t a bad relationship. It just wasn’t the right relationship. So it’s over.

And that’s not bad. In fact, it’s much better. So much better that I was tempted to stay.

No.

So, I’m moving on, and moving out. And moving. Because there’s no point in being together if you’re not really together.

But guess what? I still want to be together. With someone…

I want to do what’s best. But it’s hard.

*****5-minute-friday-1

What’s Five Minute Friday?

A blog-prompt project dreamt up by LisaJo Baker, which you can read about here. The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that), on a prompt that she provides just after ten p.m. via a tweet, then spread the word, and link up. Interested? Join up. Enjoy a delightful assortment by clicking on the picture to the right, or here.

An Unexpected Arrival

Ginevra LetterIt happens. The high starts to wear off when you leave the hotel. The chocolates on the pillows turn into wrappers in the dustbin, the rich meals become a decadent memory (and maybe an extra pound on the waistline, truth be told). If the weekend is especially delicious, the high lasts a little longer, but eventually, all good things come to an end. You come home and realize that indeed, after the ecstasy, there really is laundry. A lot of laundry. I soak the stockings, hang up the slips to dry, sew a loose button back on my skirt waistband, take a couple of things to the cleaners. I sort the darks, the lights. I think. A lot. About what we did. A little bit about what might have been different. Mostly about what will happen next.

I was just coming down from that high, just settling back into my daily routine, just getting back to some kind of normal; when it happened.

I was sitting on the sofa reading when I heard the mailman (mailwoman? who knew?) clatter the lid of my box, so I rose up and went to bring in the daily round of bills, sale flyers and junk mail. Thumbing through the stack to sort what I could immediately recycle, I notice a heavy cream-colored envelope. Hmmm… I wonder who’s getting married? Not recognizing the return address, I set everything else on the credenza, and turn it over to open the envelope. It’s not an invitation. It’s a letter. Nice… It’s linen finish laid paper. You don’t see that much for correspondence. A moment of dread fills me. It’s probably from some lawyer. But the envelope isn’t business sized, and the letter is folded in quarters. Like, well, like a letter. I slowly unfold the paper and read the following:

*****

Weston Place
June 17, 20–

Ginevra,

It wasn’t supposed to go like this. It was supposed to be totally about flirting and playing and seducing. I was supposed to be the seducer. I was supposed to be the one in charge of this affair. I was supposed to be Mr. Suave and Mr. Have It All Together and Mr. Sophisticated. I was the one who told you I would lead, take you to places you’ve never been, and ruin you for life. You had no idea what you were getting into. That’s what I knew. That’s what I thought.

And then the seducer got seduced. I found you willing to bare your very soul to me. Without revealing a single bit of flesh, you stripped yourself naked right in front of me. You revealed parts of you that you have never revealed to any of the men who have known you . And I was humbled and intoxicated at the same time. I found myself drawn into your essence long before I ever entered your body. Long before our lips ever met for the first time. Long before our fingertips ever touched.

I have no idea where this is going or how it’s going to play out. I only know that you have touched me in places that have lain dormant for many, many years. I only know that I have fallen for you, Ginevra, in a way I never dreamed possible. I only know that I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter of our story, the next scene of our play, the next page of our novel. I only know that right now, I cannot imagine anything more desirable than having those love-filled eyes of yours looking directly into mine, touching your hand, holding you in my arms, and kissing your lips.

I love you, Ginevra, and cannot wait until we are together again and together for the first time. For it will "Seem like the very first time," when our bodies entwine, our hearts unite, and our souls trade the very breath of life itself.

Steffen

*****

Oh, my… Oh… I sit down. Hard. Knees a little weak. Heart beating a little faster. I reread the letter. It’s real. It’s really real. The faintest, so faint as to be almost imaginary scent of cologne wafts up from the paper. It’s a real letter, and it’s from Steffen, and…and…now what? I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to do.

_______________________________

Special Note:
This is the followup to my “First Kiss” story.
This is a letter I actually received. Upon rediscovering it, I realized it would be the perfect “next chapter” in the Ginevra story. I contacted the sender and received his permission to use it in this blog, and, with changes amounting to less than twenty-five characters, I submit it for your pleasure.

Gentlemen readers, you can do this. Ladies, you can hope for it. It’s not impossible to do, It’s not impossible to receive, and well, let’s just say it was effective. Very effective.

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Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

Beautiful“When I saw you, I just thought you were so beautiful.”

My God. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I’m one of the lucky ones, those blessed among women, those who are gifted with attractiveness. But when he told me that, I just went dumb. I had no words. I didn’t know what to say.

Not because I hadn’t heard it before.

But because he meant it.

That kind of sincerity can’t be faked. And when I heard it, I knew it. I can spot flattery a mile away. I’ve got 20/20 vision when it comes to schmoozing. Enough men have tried to pick me up that my feet need never touch the earth again.

But this was real. This was so real.

These are the words that every woman wants to hear. And I was hearing them. And I was crying and laughing all at the same time. That’s a feeling that can’t come from a bottle, be it booze or pills.

That is real. That’s beautiful.

*****5-minute-friday-1

What’s Five Minute Friday?

A blog-prompt project dreamt up by LisaJo Baker, which you can read about here. The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that), on a prompt that she provides just after midnight via a tweet, then spread the word, and link up. Interested? Join up. Enjoy a delightful assortment by clicking on the picture to the right.

Today’s Five Minute Friday selection is also here!

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Five Minute Friday: Beloved

5-minute-friday-1I’m not feeling it.

Beloved is for the new bride, honeymoon-rumpled and smiling. Beloved is for the newly born, powder-fresh and still a little wet behind the ears. Beloved is even a slightly strange book by Toni Morrison.

But it’s not me. I’m not feeling it.

I’m bewitched, bothered and bewildered, but not beloved. I’ve been besotted. I’m currently bespectacled. I’m even a little bedraggled, since I just finished salting the winter-time sidewalks. But I’m not beloved. I’m sometimes benighted and sometimes even bedazzled, but I’m not feeling beloved.

Fortunately, my feelings have nothing to do with the truth.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. … In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might have life through Him. … Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. (1 John 4:7, 9, 11)

*****

What’s Five Minute Friday?

A blog-prompt project dreamt up by LisaJo Baker, which you can read about here. The skinny is that you spend five minutes of writing, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that, and set up links), on a prompt that she provides just after midnight via a tweet, then spread the word, and link up. Interested? Join up. Check it out.

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Date a Guy Who Reads

Guy ReadingThis post is a response to A Girl You Should Date

Date a guy who reads. Date a guy who spends his money on books instead of video games, beer, or tickets to sporting events. He has problems with floor space because he has too many books. He doesn’t have end tables, but he does have stacks of books. Date a guy who has a list of books he wants to read, who has had a library card since he was in first grade.

Find a guy who reads. You’ll know that he does because he will always have an unread book with him, maybe in the back seat of his car, or just under his arm. He’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore (and not just the science fiction section, either), the one who quietly smiles when he finds the book he wants. You see the geek sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

He’s the guy reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at his mug, it’s already getting cool, because he’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. He might look astonished, as most guys who read are not likely to be interrupted, since most people don’t know what to do with a reader, especially if it’s a guy, and it’s not Sports Illustrated. Ask him if he likes the book.

Buy him another cup of coffee.
Let him know what you really think of Hemingway. See if he got through the first chapter of Atlas Shrugged. Understand that if he says he understood James Joyce’s Ulysses he’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask him if he loves Gandalf or he would like to be Gandalf.

It’s easy to date a guy who reads. Give him books for his birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give him the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give him Dante, Dickinson, Pound, Plath. Let him know that you understand that words are love. Understand that he knows the difference between books and reality but by god, he’s going to try to make his life a little like his favorite book. It will never be your fault if he does.

He has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to him. (He already thinks you do, from the first moment that you seemed interested in him…) If he understands syntax, he will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail him. (He already thinks you will—most women have been disappointed in him already.) Because a guy who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because guys who understand know that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. That while life is more than about rescuing the fair maiden, he’d really like to give it a try. He wants to be your hero. Let him.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Guys who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. (Which, as a powerful girl who reads, you can admit to doing. It’s cool. You don’t have to like it.)

If you find a guy who reads, keep him close. When you find him up at 2 AM clutching a book to his chest and silently weeping, pull him close and kiss him. Make love. Talk about it. You may lose him for a couple of hours but he will always come back to you. He’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

He will propose at a historical re-enactment. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time you’re sick. Over Skype. He may be past comic books (or not), but he still likes the pictures, especially when they’re of you.

You will start to cry, and laugh, all at the same time. You will wonder why your heart never before realized that there’s enough love in it for every single person in the universe. You will write the story of your lives, have kids (and cats) with strange names and even stranger tastes. He will introduce your children to Beatrix Potter and Guy Reading with Babythe Hobbit, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and he will recite Keats under his breath while you adjust his hat and make sure he has his gloves.

Date a guy who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a guy who can give you the most colorful life imaginable, and not just things from the Victoria Secret catalog. If you can only give him monotony, and stale hours and gossip about Jersey Shore, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a guy who reads.

Don’t get me started about the guys who write. Don’t go there.

Thank you, Rosemarie Urquico, for your original essay.

Here We Go Again…

invitacion de bodaI’ve playing piano and organ, and helping sing for a wedding tomorrow afternoon. Weddings are always a beautiful thing, when it comes right down to it, but I’m usually not that excited about the preparations. Brides are fussy creatures, by nature, and they naturally want things to turn out well on such a special day. They’ve got ideas about what they want, but they’re not always too savvy about the specific rules that govern Catholic weddings, even if they are Catholic, and woe betide the bride who isn’t Catholic, but is marrying a Catholic groom in a Catholic ceremony! I just have to shake my head and pray a little bit more.

Tomorrow’s wedding is even more interesting! Not only is a non-Catholic bride marrying a Catholic groom in a Catholic ceremony, but she is “Anglo” and he is Hispanic. So half of the wedding party doesn’t speak the language of the other half! Fortunately, it’s not a large wedding, and the couple is pretty easy going!

Maybe it’s not so bad living in a small town.