“To reveal someone’s beauty is to reveal their value by giving them time, attention and tenderness. To love is not just to do something for them but to reveal to them their own uniqueness, to tell them that they are special and worthy of attention.” – Jean Vanier
I stand over her, feeling helpless. Hopeless. Maybe even a bit heart-less right now. It goes without saying, really: I am finding it hard to love right now. Finding it really hard to emotionally connect, even as I realize I MUST. A full temper tantrum has ensued- complete with refusals, stubbornness, crying and whining: a perfect storm. And she is fixed in front of me, un-moving- immobile, with a sulky frown permeating her features. Anger is so unbecoming. And this anger- it is reaching inside me, threatening to pull me under. Tentacles wrapped around my fragile patience. Causing me to find it difficult to keep the calm, cool collected-ness deemed so necessary in these situations. I can feel the heat rising under my collar- I just don’t know what to do. How can I persuade her? Convince and assuage her? Our verbal exchanges having been reduced to a power struggle, I find myself pleading, only to hear the frustrating words retorted back from her mouth:
What do I do with that word? Can I force a ‘no’ to become a ‘yes’? Should I?
It is when we are at our worst that we need most to be reminded of how much we are loved. Of who we are in love. This truth about others and myself helps me to more deeply understand those others I interact with both at home and at work. When we show what appears to be our “worst sides” to the individuals with whom we are interacting, might it be that we are looking for some small confirmation of our own self-worth? Looking for a sign that we could indeed be loved even in the midst of our recurring difficulty to exhibit love first? Vanier (2008) states that love gestures which are filled with respect are often what instigate the belief in one’s own sense of self worth, even when that belief is buried under ‘anger, hatred and madness’.
We need love to show love.
Yesterday, I arrived home with much on my plate. There is much going on in all our lives, as we can so easily attest to, along with witness via social media, conversational exchanges, electronic messaging, body language and the like; we read via the lines and through the lines coming to the conclusion that life is hard. Life is so, so hard. Busy, stressful, fraught with trouble and sadness- HARD. And these words would appear to be an absolute understatement.
I felt the pressure rising and inside me an inaudible ‘NO’ rose to the surface. I felt the surge of defiance, tasted the bitterness of wrath. And I lost my cool. I lost it.
I got angry.
And suddenly, I was that little girl again that stormed the house and left over supper hour. I was that little girl who later came home and went into hiding for a while (albeit, this time in her daughter’s room). And I was that little girl who lay silent when the calling voices inquired where she might be.
When he finally found me, I was motionless, with a hand over my face. And his tender tone brought me to tears.
And the ‘no’ inside me melted away- along with the anger and rage and fear and worry and anxiety and all that threatened to pull me under.
Love has that kind of way with me.
For it is when we are at our worst that we need most to be reminded of how very much we are loved.