Saturday, July 6, 2013

Getting off the Porch

I recently watched a movie titled, Unconditional.  It’s crazy how a movie can impact your emotions and make you reflect on your life and your blessings.  The movie explored the power of love and connection.  It made me think about the amazing blessings of friendship, love, and connection that I have in my life. 

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about a metaphor that I often use to describe myself; “little girl on the porch”.  I haven’t been able to get the little girl off my mind lately.  I’ve been criticizing myself for always reverting back to the little girl on the porch.  The little girl on the porch is a reflection of me as a little girl who used to wait for my dad to pick me up.  Time after time, he left me waiting, but I never stopped hoping, waiting, or sitting on that porch every time he said he was coming.  I never gave up on him, and though I’ve adjusted my expectations, I still haven’t given up on him.  For most of my life, I’ve looked for all of my relationships to save me from the loneliness of the porch.  I remember one time in particular when I was about 11 years old and had been waiting for my dad for over an hour, praying to God that someone would rescue me from the loneliness of the porch.  Out of nowhere my best childhood friend appeared.  It was almost like she was an angel sent from God, because right away she sensed I desperately needed her company.  For most of my life, I’ve depended on my closest relationships to save me from the porch.  When those relationships let me down, or did not live up to my expectations, I always found myself back on the porch waiting.    
I’ve been viewing my continued return to the porch as a negative, because it has caused me great pain, disappointment, hurt, loneliness, and extreme vulnerability.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a close relationship that I have ever given up on, no matter how disappointed or how many “wrongs” I perceived as being “done to me” over and over again.  I just don’t give up on people.  I just wait on that porch for them to change, or show up again.  As painful as this “gift” has been, I recognize it as an incredible blessing as well.  It is this same “gift” that allows me to connect with people in the depths of their hearts, which absolutely feeds me soul.  It has also allowed me to forgive, which has been key to me being able to experience the fullness of life and love.   What I’ve learned to accept is that every gift has a price and responsibility, and that this gift can easily turn into a curse, if it is not balanced with discernment and wisdom.  This has been my challenge and Achilles heel.  This has been a challenge because as I tend to “never give up” and fill the loneliness of the porch, I’ve often sacrificed “me” or “my happiness” so that I would not be left on that porch alone again.  I did not have the confidence that I alone was enough, so I would over compensate to fill in the gaps and that has had a costly expense on my soul.  I felt like I had to be perfect or do more so that I wouldn’t be left alone…again.

Now, in my mid-forties, I’ve decided I don’t want to lose the hope and forgiveness that has always been a part of what makes me Alicia, and has blessed me with some incredibly deep bonds with friends and family.  But at the same time, I don’t want to be saved from the porch any longer.  I want to be able to get up off the porch a whole and healed person comfortable with my imperfections, and knowing that I am good enough!   In my quest to living an authentic life, I don’t want to sacrifice myself or my happiness so that everyone else is “good” ever again.  This is a day by day process, but a promise I made to myself. 
Today I had a conversation with a dear friend who showed me that in all of my imperfections, I am loved unconditionally.    The interaction warmed my heart, and made me reflect on so many people in my life.  God has blessed me with such special relationships that feed my soul.  Because that little girl on the porch never gave up hope, my heart has been able to receive and give love abundantly.  So now that I am ready to get up off the porch, I do it with the confidence that I am good enough and worthy to give and receive love completely.   Settling for less and overcompensation is no longer an option or necessary, and it really never was.  My hope and prayer is that by having the courage to get off the porch by myself, my kids will never have to experience the loneliness of the porch and the cycle can finally be broken.

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