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No Response to Love Expressed

(This post comes from Mark.) 

Over the weekend I had a childhood memory of trying to express love toward my dad by giving him Father's Day and Birthday Cards.

I would sign those cards "Love Mark". Our family never spoke the word "love". Yet, I used it in his cards. I remember struggling to get the courage to give him my cards. I usually would end up leaving them someplace where I knew he'd find it. Then I'd watch him as he opened and read it.

He did not respond. Did not express thanks.

That gave me the message that my love wasn't good enough. My love didn't matter.

I still struggle with wondering if my love is good enough to be accepted by others. To be accepted by God.

I am realizing that for a parent to consistently not acknowledge his child's attempts at expressing love is not natural. It's a rejection that boggles my mind. Men (and women) who live openly wicked and evil lives will respond to a child's innocent expressions of love.

My dad's lack of response to my love was not natural. My desire to love my dad and to express love to him, was natural.

The wound from that rejection of my love is yet something else that I need to forgive. And without God's help, I can't.


Joseph said...

A grief that followed me into old age was never knowing a father's love or having a memory of being held in daddy's arms. Most days I am able to leave that in God's hands, but sometimes when I see a little fellow run and jump into his dad's outstretched arms, it can still being tears to my eyes. I never knew how to respond to my wife's unconditional love. I recently something like this: "Learning to love is like learning the French language; if you don't learn it early, it's hard to get the hang of it." And that's the truth.

Roger Mann said...

I agree with Joseph.

I remember one day my mother, who was always trying to reassure me that dad loved and cared for me, which in itself should have told her something; showed me a picture. It was of my dad in his rocking chair. He had me on his lap and I was about 7 or 8 I guess from the picture. What she failed to see which was obvious to me was that dad's hand was right in my crotch. I had a faraway look in my eyes and I almost teared up staring at it.

I thanked her and said nothing about what I saw. I guess you see what you want to see. I always joked that I knew dad loved me; mom said so.

Maybe he did I don't know but I just cannot remember him ever saying it or other words like atta boy, proud of you, you did good, etc.

I know I have difficulty accepting love and even giving love. My love thing I guess atrophied over time I guess from lack of use. I am learning through celebrate recovery and the 12 step program but I really think only the God of Love can really repair that and maybe it is just HIM loving through me. At least that way I know it is HIM and I do give HIM the credit. I sure don't have it in me on my own.

Thanks Mark.

Joseph said...

As old as I am, there are moments yet when I would like to be that little boy who could curl up in Daddy's arms and feel loved and accepted. I was in my mid teens when I was seduced by an older man. And it was only after I puked all the past up to my counselor that I realized that when I used to cruise to find older, father-like men, I was still that wounded boy looking for and longing for acceptance by daddy.