“You are very, very, very stupid. The only person who stopped loving you is you.”
– Polly Vinyl Chloride, Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’ve Got Henchmen, by Richard Roberts
These words are said by a woman to her foster brother. Said brother has wasted far too many years, far too much of his life, making the wrong choices. Just now, however, he has taken a major step in doing the right thing: he has returned to, and stopped hiding from, the people who love him. Like the prodigal son, the response he gets from so many friends and family is overwhelming affection. It’s so great that the teenaged girl who inspired and supported his return gets flooded with gratitude.
The prodigal himself is very touched, and surprised, by all of this. He’s even hesitant to hug his own sister after his prolonged absence. When he sees the heaping gratitude piled on his very young friend, he is incredulous, “They care that much?” he says (paraphrasing.)
“Of course,” his sister says, “We all still care. It doesn’t make sense to think that we wouldn’t.”
Moments later, as she shares a particular bit of happy news with him, he’s so caught up that he forgets his own fears and hesitation, and sweeps her up into a tight embrace. …and then he quickly releases it, starting to apologize, at which moment she says the above, concerning his stupidity and he was the only one who stopped loving him. No one else did. They all still care for him, very much. So, yes, he may hug his sister freely. 🙂
This entire part of the story reminded me of something I’ve seen, and heard of, and experienced.
When we make bad mistakes, we tend to self-flagellate, and even when we don’t, we tell ourselves that the person we’ve become is one that can’t be loved, not by anyone. It’s a stupid, self-destructive thought, and one far too many of us entertain. “I’m bad, I’m unforgivable, I’m unlovable,” we say. But more often than not, we are so very wrong. We isolate ourselves, pushing against every loving hand that reaches out to us, convinced that there has to be some other reason, some motive. We try to deny the very same thing we yearn for.
The simple truth is: we are loved. By someone, somewhere, always. No matter our mistakes.
So isn’t it such a waste when we give up on ourselves?