For the last week, I have been going through boxes...a lot of them...boxes of...stuff. It's stuff I've accumulated since I was 13 or 14 - school work, notes, pictures...folders, papers, notebooks...bills and junk mail...just a ton of stuff I either wanted to save for sentimental reasons, or stuff that got piled up and boxed up because I just didn't want to go through it at the time. This stuff has been moved with me from place to place, everywhere I've moved in the last 10 years. I thought it was time to go through it and get rid of it. I'm down to the last four boxes.
I found a little photo album my mom had put together for me of my high school graduation and party. There were pictures of my dad and my grandpa, both of whom are dead now. Dad wasn't smiling in any of the pictures...he just looked disinterested. That's how he looks in most pictures I have of him from special events and holidays from my and my siblings' childhood. It made me sad, and it brought back a lot of emotions and feelings I had forgotten about...feelings I've run from and tried to forget about since I moved out of my parents' home 10 years ago...feelings that have followed me and dwelt beneath the surface despite my best efforts to squash them into oblivion.
My high school graduation occurred at a very difficult time in my life - it was two years after my brother hung himself, and I was still going through a time of extreme grief and depression. My brother's death troubled me for reasons other than the obvious. I guess somewhere deep inside I knew he felt the same way I did.
In my teenage mind, I just could not comprehend why my brother had lived for 14 years, feeling unloved like I did, just to end his own life and that be it. It seemed sad and unjust to me. And yes, I did question God about it. A lot. Until He told me to stop. [I then stopped questioning and was able to go on with my life.]
Of course, I am no longer a teenager living with my unhappy parents, and my brother's death was almost 12 years ago. My relationship with my parents has greatly improved in the last few years. [Their own relationship, however, which was never a good one, devolved eventually into a divorce a couple years after I moved out.] And tonight I think I came to a realization.
It was never about me.
My parents loved me. They just didn't feel loved themselves, because of numerous circumstances and happenings, and so they weren't capable of expressing real love to anyone else.
Not only did/do my parents love me, but so many others have loved me...people who owe me nothing have loved me with the love of Christ, and it has made me into a completely different person. His love is true, and it is powerful, healing and transforming.
Every person on earth is important and is here for a reason. But some [many] people are so broken and damaged because they have never known the love of Christ...they have only known imperfect love from imperfect, damaged people...that they do not function anywhere near their full potential.
1 john 4:10-12 says, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." This tells me two things: 1) people experience the love of God through other people, and 2) if God's love is in us, then we must and will express it to other people.
God, help me to love other people perfectly, with Your love. Help me to see others as You see them. Help me to judge every person as equally deserving of Your love! Help me to love people in such a way that their true humanity is healed and restored...so they can in turn love others with that same redeeming love.