Learn­ing to be loved

The Covington News - - Saturday living - Beth McAfeeHall­man Beth McAfee-Hall­man lives in Cov­ing­ton and can be e-mailed at mam­abee@one­fab­u­lous­mama.com.

I learned to not trust any­one who loves me when I was a child. I think many folks do, not just the gag­gle of McAfee chil­dren. Seems to me, most of us spend a large part of our lives play­ing bumper cars with our re­la­tion­ships. We charge at one an­other and then, bounce off into space un­til we make con­nec­tion with the next car. We’re al­ways look­ing over our shoul­ders, afraid and ex­hil­a­rated by the prox­im­ity of the other cars in the ring. It’s a bru­tal, con­fus­ing way to live and so many of us find our­selves lov­ing one an­other pre­cisely this way.

Re­cently, I’ve been given sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­am­ine this con­di­tion­ing, this un­re­lent­ing sus­pi­cion of those who love me. The Uni­verse re­sponds when you seek to heal old wounds and, my good­ness, I’m get­ting les­son af­ter les­son; each one an­other il­lus­tra­tion in trust and love. Each les­son is an­other chance to heal, to re­pair what was bro­ken by a notso-won­der­ful child­hood. Seek and ye shall find, yes?

If you want to learn how to fly, you don’t have to un­der­stand how your wings work. That’s the thing with love. We love one an­other, but we don’t un­der­stand the dy­nam­ics, the lo­gis­tics, the hows and whys of what we’re do­ing. We just love and hope for the best. We just crash our bumper cars into one an­other and let go of the wheel and scream with joy.

I’m the kind of girl who al­ways, al­ways loves in this way. I throw my hands in the air, I fly, and I love with aban­don. Lov­ing peo­ple isn’t the prob­lem. It’s be­ing loved. It’s look­ing over my shoul­der, won­der­ing when and how you will hurt me, let me down, let me fall. It’s brac­ing my­self for the crash of your car against mine and feel­ing not the exhilaration of love and op­por­tu­nity, but the sting of fear and the po­ten­tial for hurt.

How do I learn to ac­cept the love I’m given with­out wait­ing for the other shoe to drop? When you love me, I ex­pect you to yell, to lie, to find fault, to un­der­mine my hap­pi­ness, be­lit­tle my suc­cess, and ridicule me. Isn’t that ter­ri­ble? When you love me and you don’t be­have like the ghosts of my past, I spend my time wait­ing for that other shoe. How do I learn to be loved fully es­pe­cially when I have this pro­cliv­ity for lov­ing? How do I re­pro­gram, re­con­di­tion, heal? How does some­one who loves so freely, so openly, so abun­dantly learn to be fully em­braced and loved?

The lessons I’ve sought and been given over the past few weeks have been dif­fi­cult to process, my friends. I have been given an op­por­tu­nity to take in­ven­tory of my­self. I was will­ing to sub­ject my ego to some beat­ing over the past few days. I think when we seek growth and heal­ing, we have to be open to how the Uni­verse presents it. That One­ness has to be ac­knowl­edged! I am mo­ti­vated to im­ple­ment some pos­i­tive changes in my jour­ney be­cause of these lessons. Not only am I mo­ti­vated, but part of me that was frac­tured has healed and I find my­self stand­ing taller and stronger than ever.

I think learn­ing to be loved has to start with lov­ing all the frac­tured pieces of my­self-in­fant Beth; lit­tle Beth; teenage Beth; sui­cide Beth; young wife Beth; and so on and so on un­til we reach this beau­ti­ful whole per­son, this glo­ri­ous Me. I’ve been col­lect­ing the pieces, reach­ing back and find­ing more and more of who I was, so I can con­tinue on to who I am be­com­ing.

I love with my soul scream­ing wildly into the night, with a smile so big it could light the world. My bumper car is steer­ing off course and, most likely, right at you. In­stead of brac­ing my­self for your love, I’m go­ing to keep gath­er­ing those pieces of Me. Ev­ery lit­tle piece of who I am longs to be pres- ent and healed to ex­pe­ri­ence the great­est power in the Uni­verse. Love.

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