Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. (Shakespeare)
As you can see by its presence in my sidebar, I REALLY LOVE Harula’s quote today. I LOVE her word as well — LOVE — though learning what that means can be a very hard task.
When we got married, both Drollery and I understood what it felt like growing up believing you weren’t LOVED by your parents. Rejection can be a crippling thing. It sneaks up on you as you get older, and before you know it, it has wormed its way so deeply into your heart and mind that you may find it impossible to accept LOVE when it IS offered.
That’s been a struggle in our marriage. Both of us needing very much the affirmation and affection that can go along with love, but neither of us being very good at knowing how to give it. So one thing we determined was that our own kids wouldn’t grow up feeling the way we did. And we thought we did do a better job of showing LOVE to our kids. We had heard it said by a pastor named David Mains, a very wise man, that the best thing you can do for your kids is to be consistently adequate. We tried hard to make sure we were doing just that.
But then after our son, who had been a straight A student, started college, all of a sudden he had a crisis of sorts in his life. And we realized for the first time that he was feeling very inadequate. We couldn’t get our heads around it. We’d gone out of our way to support him and build him up from day one. We had had major issues just trying to conceive. It took us six years. And when Bran was born we were told that in all probability there would be no more children. So until he was ten and we adopted Stef, Brandon was an only child with parents who were terrified of losing him. And that was our mistake because we became entirely too overprotective.
It took us a few years to figure it out, but we finally realized by overprotecting him and not letting him do things on his own, especially the harder things in life, Brandon had come to feel as rejected as he would have had we neglected him in the same way we felt our parents had neglected us. And that was truly an epiphany for us. We realized then that LOVE is a fragile thing, but it’s also very strong. It’s actually a paradox.
And that’s the way I see Harula’s word today. Drollery and I are still learning that there’s a fine balance to be found if you want that LOVE to be healthy, for it’s possible to LOVE too little, but it’s also possible to LOVE too much. Maybe some day we’ll get it all figured out… In the meantime for us we’ve come to realize that love is the perfect paradox.