I'm back to blogging! Thanks to those who reached out that you missed my words. That boosted me so much. I was gone on vacation yes, but while I was gone I used the time to work on my book and a few other projects.
The first half of the vacay I brought my favorite IT girl and friend with me to the beach. She had some much needed R & R but also taught a private class called. "You can post your own blog no matter how old you are!" Yeah, we had some much needed classroom time teaching me how to post my blog. She has done a fabulous job for me these last few years. Making my words come to life beautifully, but it was time I learned. We are working on some other things, so this will free her up to work on some projects for she surrenders. Stay tuned!
So if things look a little sketchy here, be patient with me.
“How can I fully and deeply experience loving anyone unless I first love myself?”
I found this line in a letter I wrote to myself almost ten years ago. I was supposed to be writing a "goodbye to alcohol letter" (insert eye roll here) per the instructions of a support group I was in. I guess wasn’t ready to say goodbye because alcohol stayed in my life for quite a while longer.
What I do read in that letter though is so much sadness. I felt so unlovable, which is so heart wrenchingly sad to me. To live and not feel loved is one of the most painful things imaginable. Believe me, I’ve been there and I stayed there. To long. Notice, I didn't say I was not loved. I felt unlovable. Does it make sense to you for me to say that it was almost easier to make myself unlovable by my actions because at least then I I could at least justify feeling unlovable? The more I drank the more I pushed people away. The very people I wanted most to love me I pushed further and further away so they would not.
Looking back I know I did not push them away for any other reason than I wanted them to get out of my face so I could drink in peace.
Thankfully they didn’t stop or ever give up on me.
I used some of my alone time in between my girlfriend visits to reflect on those that have really poured into me and my sobriety. Some of you might not even know who you are and some without a doubt do.
How could they not know who they are you may ask? Well, the answer is simple. They may have done just one thing or said just one thing to me that lifted me that day. A day that I stayed sober. Maybe it was a friend, but maybe it was a stranger.
I think it is important to remember that with anyone we encounter each day. It is so easy to do while I am in Alabama. People are so nice there. Nice is such a general word so I have a few examples for you.
I was in the Publix (favorite grocery store here in the south ever!) and it was 10:00 at night and these were my interactions:
Example #1:Clerk at the seafood counter told me to put down the crab salad and try his cajun dip, “you won't be sorry ma’am.”
Example #2: While I lingered around the specialty deli case this young girl that was working nearby said, “how are you tonight ma’am?” It was 10:00 at night! Have you ever been in Meijer at night while they are restocking? There is not a conversation to be found and I feel like I'm in the way. Not so at the Orange Beach Publix!
Example #3: I was checking out and the cashier asked if I had found everything ok. I said “yes, but I wish you had more of that homemade granola that was in the center aisle last week.” Let me tell you, it was like mission control launched. The manager went on a hunt for it and profusely apologized for being out of it.
I left there feeling very cared for. So maybe not loved but seriously
these were interactions with strangers! Imagine if we made everyone in our path feel this taken care?!
Yes, when my family calls I feel loved. When my friends come and go I feel loved. Many of my friends and I exchange a “Love ya” when we part or hang up. These are all easy and in the moment. The challenge is to do this out of the moment.
If I love myself it is much easier to extend it. To possibly make a difference in a life I have no idea about. If I am busy beating myself up I don’t even notice what someone around me might need.
“A healthy sense of self-love- is essential to the life of a Christian.” Matthew Kelly.
While I may be powerful enough (or so I think) to make others stop loving me, here is truth I heard in church last Sunday.
I am not powerful enough to make God stop loving me.”
He just never will, it's just that simple. No matter what I say or do. He will never stop loving me. My challenge is this. How do I make sure that whoever God puts in my path today knows how much they are loved? That even if we only exchange a smile or a quick “how are you” they feel like someone cares and may be so inclined to do that for someone else. Love them like God does.
My challenge this week is to be aware of who God puts in front of me to do just that.
Love makes the world go around. True that.
Blessings on your week ahead,