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Why do we withhold our information of love? I asked myself this question this morning. When I was growing up, there was not this love information from my parents. The love information is someone saying I love you casually and not in a time of desperation. As I grew up I wondered what was missing. Yet, I accepted as a child that love was shown in housing you, feeding you—basic provisions to you as a child was considered love. I’m here to tell you today it’s not. Rather, that’s not how it should work.

When my mother at times wondered why I wrote a certain way or spent times alone, appearing lonely. She’d remark that if I didn’t feel loved—It was because perhaps I was the unloved second child, she’d claimed. In other words, it was only a feeling. However, that answered little and was void of the truth.

In the extreme dysfunctional environment, I came from. Back then I had no clue it was that bad. Yet, as I pulled away from the family I’d been around—entering the Marines, then becoming a wife my vision was no longer clouded. It took a near death experience for me to realize I am supposed to be shown love from others. I had always been giving to those who used reciprocity to possibly let me know I might be loveable.

 Twenty-five years in my marriage as we were raising our daughters—my husband had begun to say, “You were never a little girl. You were always forty-one.” What did that say to me, about me? It took a while for me to wrap my mind around the ideology of always being age forty-one. Especially, when I was supposed to be eight years old—in chronological age.

It wasn’t just my husband inferring such. It was that he came out and said, “When you were eight years old, you were already forty-one.” Too, it wasn’t just the maturity of the chores or worries I told my husband I’d done or had as a child. It was my outlook and surprise at our children’s reactions. My reactions were far different than that of either of my parents. Only my dad was alive to witness my parenting. He felt I was too kind in general. That we were too soft in allowing the children to be just that, children—Little girls.

I remember my dad asking me why I could not just hate someone for doing something horrendous to me. My response was, “Kill them with kindness. Do it with love. With passion, overcome obstacles that they’ve set before you. Prove yourself right to yourself. It’s the best way to overcome evil. To squash hatred with love.” He shook his head.

I knew then seventeen years ago as I do today that he refused to forgive. Which in turn increased the longevity of hatred in his heart. Love was kept at bay in an unworthy corner of his soul. Making it more difficult to feel loved and to return love. Upon my recognizing this all those years ago I knew what else I had to do. What I’d been doing with my husband, and then our daughters. I’d tell them I loved them ad nauseum. And I knew I did, that may have been the difference.

The difference is knowing love. Desiring it above all else. Passion, living it. I had begun to realize; most people withhold love. They don’t wish you well when you excel.

My mother had said to me when I was age eleven, not to smile too much or laugh too hard. She feared people would hate me and hurt me—if I seemed happier than them. I became reserved in selected moments and the moments I’d not hid my laughter or anything that appeared to be a moment of contentment—I’d be slammed with ungrateful souls not wanting to join in feeling loved.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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