What does love feel like?
Does it feel like a consoling hug after an experienced loss?
Does it feel like a lover's caress?
Does it feel like watching your baby slumber peacefully in your arms?
How does love feel to you?
Does it feel like being tucked into bed after a scary dream?
Does it feel like a hot meal waiting on the table?
Does it feel like the wet nose of your furry companion as he licks the tears from your cheeks?
My mom would tell you that she loved me my whole life. My dad too. Maybe even my siblings. While I was a wife for 20 years, my husband told me that he loved me too.
Even my children echoed their love. For 43 years I heard repeatedly the words "I love you", yet I had never felt loved. Surrounded by people saying they loved me, I felt isolated and alone.
As a child, if I behaved appropriately, I was told "I love you".
If I got good grades in school, I was told "I love you".
If I performed well in athletic competition, I was told "I love you".
If I was quiet and agreeable, despite wanting to scream and disagree, I was told "I love you". As a wife and mother, If I ran our home with great efficiency always prepared for everybody's needs, I was told "I love you". In order to hear the words "I love you", I had to be what others wanted me to be. Deep in my soul I knew the words were not being spoken to my true self. After 43 years of trying to please others, I no longer knew who my true self even was. It nearly cost me my life. Everything. SO desperate I was for love. Not the words, the feeling. I wanted to feel love.
Have you ever longed to feel loved?
Of course, you have.... it's human nature to love and desire love.
I knew I wanted to be loved for who I was and not for what others expected or wanted from me. I began to explore different ideas from those I had been raised to believe.
I asked myself, what if I mattered?
What if I was worthy?
What if I was good?
What if I had a lot to offer the world?
What if I was here for a reason?
As these new thoughts began to replace the old, my life began shifting in big ways.
Loving myself was the key that unlocked the door that allowed me to finally receive love for the first time in my life.
The darker the night, the brighter the dawn appears.
In the fall of 2012, my world was at its darkest. I was in every pain imaginable. My thoughts were consumed with one....End the pain. I did not care how, only that the pain ended. I didn't have the strength to continue the fight.... or so I believed.
At that time, my mom and I were separated by a two-hour car drive. Though we had discussed some aspects of my situation, I had spared her much. Her mom's intuition has always been keen, she knew that I needed her....and so she came. Her presence that dreary fall day is why I am still present on this earth today. I was but a shell. A mere whisper of a person. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually I was starving and at my breaking point. Tending to my body's most basic needs took every ounce of strength I had. I couldn't bend. I couldn't sit. I couldn't stand. I had zero control over my left leg. All movement was excruciating, and the pain was maddening.
My mom was not prepared for seeing the reality that was her baby girl's life. Many years later she would share her shock and horror upon laying eyes on me that afternoon...but on that day, she was my rock. I no longer had to carry the tremendous weight that had become my life on my shoulders. My mom brought her unbelievable strength that she, her mother, her sisters, and all women in our ancestry have pulled from to survive.
She knew I was struggling to walk, being the "fixer" that she is, she brought me a wooden cane with a hand carved tiger's head for a handle. It was pivotal in assisting me with my limited mobility and later it would be my faithful protector. That tiger cane became my constant companion. Even now, five years later, I still cherish it. It stands in a corner symbolizing my mom's love, protection, and her strength.
My mom has always shown her love in the form of food, as taught to her by her mom. Her visit that day was later than expected because she had taken the time to make her famous veggie soup. As a young person, her veggie soup was never one of my favorites. My sweet tooth preferred her sweet rice, biscuits and gravy and fried taters. Mama knows best! When she asked if I wanted a bowl of veggie soup my mind said, "Veggie soup? Ew! Gross!" but my body said, "YES"!!! Tears trickled down my cheek as I took my first bite of that delicious bowl of veggie soup. There I was, at death's door in every way, and my mom's veggie soup felt like the love I had spent my entire life searching for. At 43 years old, I felt love from a bowl on my mom's veggie soup.
At the core of all pain, love is there, pushing to break free.
Love broke free that day and I began again. Five miraculous years later I am totally in love with who I am. I am able to walk. I am able to sit. I am able to stand. I am able to dance. I am able to celebrate life. It is my core essence, which is the core of all humanity, that I am utterly in love with.
Love really is the answer to all questions....so I ask again....
What does love feel like to you?
Mom's Famous Veggie Soup
Combine in large stock pot and cook for 5 minutes
1/2 Small head of Cabbage ~ Chopped
1 Large Onion ~ Chopped
2-3 TBSP Bacon Grease
8 Cups Water
4 Cups Potatoes ~ Diced
2 1/2 TBLS salt
1 Large Carrot ~ Sliced
4 Beef Bouillon Cubes
Cook for 10 - 15 minutes
1 16oz Frozen mixed veggies ~ can add
extra veggies, green beans, corn, peas
6 Cups Water
4 Cups Tomatoes with juice
Cook to combine flavors ~