Big Love

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I didn’t want to write a new blog. I didn’t want to move beyond Kelly’s love letter to me. Our marriage has been so tested by my illness. I doubt that there is a married couple out there who could say any different. And now we are still finding our way through this ordeal, but I feel we are trying equally hard to find the joy in the everyday…together. Friday was a test. Clay threw up all over the Philly car share. It was due back in 30 minutes, we could not extend the time and it there was vomit everywhere. Kelly’s parents were in town and both he and I had scheduled appointments. I was due to get an MRI that I had rescheduled twice. He was due to get my Christmas present. We argued, I felt one of us should remain home with the baby. In the end Kelly canceled his appointment but not before I hurt his feelings.

He had planned on having a portrait of me put on his forearm. An old idea that I had always thought was wonderful. But now my feelings had turned to the future. A future woman who might love Kelly and my child and not want to stare at a picture of me every day. The thought pained me. I did not want him to get it. It was not a “present” for me. It felt like a burden. He was crushed. Hours later in the MRI machine I wept. I thought of my life. The crappy men that I had for fathers and boyfriends. My crappy relationships. My longing to feel “loved”. When I met Kelly I met my soul mate. He loved me and knew I was not perfect. And he wanted to “immortalize” that by putting a portrait of me on his arm. And I told him what a bad idea it was, but really I think I just thought I was unworthy.

When I became a Christian I had to relearn what a Father was. Mine had always been unkind and negligent. I had to find out what unconditional love and acceptance were. I did not have the faintest idea what Grace was or what it meant to be loved just as I am. I wept often after my conversion. How on earth was it possible that God could love me just as I am. But He does. And for that I am grateful. And because of that love I do not have to settle for crappy relationships in which people hurt me. Or allow people to say things that destroy my self esteem. I am a child of God. Not your daughter or your sister, God’s own child. And I deserve to be treated well.By the same token I know I am also called to treat others well. And love people just as they are. My children, Kelly, my friends.

Sometimes I am treated so well that I am overwhelmed. I feel that all around me my friends have become angels. Taking me places. Caring for me and my family. People keep giving us money. God is providing for us perfectly and I want for nothing. I sometimes feel unworthy of all this love. But I feel equally unworthy of the unkindness and neglect that flows from my family. And the challenges I still feel face from old crappy relationships.

Love is a learning process I think. I am learning how to love and forgive those who hurt me and love my enemy. I am also learning that it is not what I say or do that makes me lovable in the eyes of God, but merely that I love His son. And in my home I am learning how to let myself be loved and love my husband and children deeply without reservation. And with my friends I am learning how to allow myself to be loved. And accept that the people who I thought would always be there have faded away and have been replaced by people who love us and care for us perfectly.

As I cried to Clarence and Lhianna tonight about how sorry I was to ask them for yet another favor they both reassured me that they had no intention on going anywhere. I did not have to explain why I needed help it was there. I think it is hard to love someone who is needy. It is hard to love someone who will die. It is hard to love and be loved. But it is crucial. These days I wish I could tattoo all my loved ones portraits on my arm. Immortalize my love for you. I am blessed.

6 Responses to “Big Love”

  1. leah says:

    you are a loving and caring person and you are so worthy to get that in return!

  2. Siobhan says:

    i cannot tell you how badly i needed to hear all that. i so often feel nothing but unworthy. by being hurt i’ve hurt so many others. by feeling useless i have made those close to me feel useless. i hope that someday you and every other friend i’ve neglected at times will know that it’s out of my own feeling of inadequacies and disposability that i do this.
    i love you and you have so much wisdom and love to give. even if you think it’s just honesty. thank you for that.

  3. Toni says:

    Andrea.

    we ALL need to hear that occasionally to re-set our course in life. You have learned only too well that it’s not the problem that is the problem but how we handle the problem……..and sometimes we cannot solve that problem no matter what our intentions or abilities. The tattoo episode with Kelly beautifully illustrates your unselfishness…..it also magnificently illustrates his love for you. You’ll work it out.

  4. joshua says:

    did you leave a cool knit scarf behind the other day?

    let it shine!

  5. Aaron says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now and it has inspired me. I have had the privilege of meeting Alec and Jesse through Rock School and I can honestly say that they are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met, you’ve done a wonderful job raising them. I am looking forward to playing at the TLA on the 31st with all-stars to raise money for your cause. Through your blog, I’ve decided that I need to tell people I love them more and I also need to start helping everyone I can.

    Thank You,
    Aaron Sheehan

  6. Stephanie Sabatini says:

    Hello sweetie..

    I have been trying to get your phone number for a while now.. I am so overwhelmed by your strength and fortitude.
    I would love to come visit you
    Let me know if that would be ok
    I Love you Andrea
    Stephanie