Tag Archive | unconditional love

Always and Forever

The Presents of Presence-7

My Mom passed away last week.  We were blessed to have been able to be with her during the last few days of her life and even as she took her final breath, my sister and I were there with her.  While it is heart-wrenching to watch a loved one pass away before your eyes, we felt honored that she allowed us to accompany her as she transitioned from the earthly plane to Heaven.  Even as I write this to you, tears are pouring down my face because I believe that we all understand the universal grief of losing a loved one.

I have written before about my Dad’s passing years ago and occasionally about my Mom over the years.  While losing my Dad was very hard, losing my Mom has been even devastating.  Perhaps it is that a Mother’s love for her daughter is unconditional or on a deeper level, I feel bereft by losing my Mother-ship, physically from this earthly plane.  My Mom’s love knew no bounds.  She never tired of telling me how much she loved me.  I never questioned her love for me which was a huge blessing for which I am grateful.  She even signed every letter with “I love you, Always and Forever (A & F)” lest I forget.  I never forgot.

Even in the end, her heartlight was shining and it is that beacon of light that inspires me daily.  Her innate unconditional love for her family, friends and loved ones never dimmed.  Her genuine smile and authentic love and caring for everyone touched many hearts during her lifetime.

Mom role-modeled the importance of kindness and connecting with others.  She loved to have fun, to laugh and to be silly.  Her infinite patience made her a beloved elementary teacher.  Her faith in God and the comfort she felt by reading the Bible sustained her.  She passed onto us all of those traits and more.

What a legacy of love to leave here on this Earth!  The outpouring of kindness, the sharing of beautiful memories from others and the compliments about my Mom have sustained me this past week for hers was a life well-loved.  I can only pray that when it is my time that my children will have a similar experience.  I shall continue to work diligently to keep Mom’s heartlight legacy shining with love for all.

Thank you for reading today.  I extend my loving embrace to all of you who know this grief personally, of losing a beloved person in your life, especially a Mom who only gave unconditional love to all and accepted everyone for who they are.

God Bless!  Shine On!

xo

 

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying…

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

This poem was sent to me by a friend and it struck such a chord with me that I knew I had to share it with you. ♥  Does it remind you of anyone?

Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I’m afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.

Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,
but don’t be fooled,
for God’s sake don’t be fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water’s calm and I’m in command
and that I need no one,
but don’t believe me.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,
if it’s followed by love.
It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It’s the only thing that will assure me
of what I can’t assure myself,
that I’m really worth something.
But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare to, I’m afraid to.
I’m afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,
that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that’s really nothing,
and nothing of what’s everything,
of what’s crying within me.
So when I’m going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I’m saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying,
what I’d like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can’t say.

I don’t like hiding.
I don’t like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you’ve got to help me.
You’ve got to hold out your hand
even when that’s the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you’re kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings–
very small wings,
very feeble wings,
but wings!

With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator–
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.

Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me the blinder I may strike back.
It’s irrational, but despite what the books say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.

Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.

~ Charles C. Finn
September 1966

Shine On!

xo

You can read a collection of stories about the poem’s impact in Please Hear What I’m Not Saying: a Poem’s Reach around the World

Dear Anonymous

Today’s post is a reblog from one of my favorite authors…please read and enjoy!

Shine On!

xo

Tourettes-blog-770x418

Dear Friends, please help me get this letter to the person who needs it by sharing it on your Facebook page, email and Twitter. Thank you.

Dear Anonymous,

I was very much disheartened by your anonymous letter. I was saddened that you hadn’t the courage to include your name so I could help you understand the truth. Since I must believe that you wouldn’t possibly “friend” a “man like me” on your Facebook page, I can only hope that someone you know shares this post on their site and that God guides you to this letter.

I came to your church to tell you about God’s love for His children and to talk about the beauty of His forgiveness. I don’t think you heard me. Or, at least, believed me. You wrote in your letter that I “had no place in a house of God, as I was clearly a sinful man” and that my sins were “manifested across my face, revealed by my many facial tics”.

Yes, no doubt I am, like most of God’s children, a sinner. But the tics you saw on my face were not from sin. They come from a neurological disorder called Tourette’s Syndrome. I was born this way. I cannot stop them.

Sadly, as a boy, I would have believed you that I was bad. My mother got mad at me that day my first tic manifested–a painful, constant shrugging. And, though I was only 8-years-old, I felt guilty for disobeying her when she told me to stop. As a 9-year-old I thought that maybe, if I was a good enough boy and I had enough faith, I could be cured of my tics. But they wouldn’t go away, so I thought that my abnormality must be my fault.

One time a church leader came to speak at my church. I was told that he was someone important. I remembered the Bible story of the woman touching Jesus’s garment and being healed. I thought that maybe if I shook this man’s hand I might be healed. So I waited in line. And I shook his hand. But my tics remained.

Earlier that summer, my family had moved to Utah and I had ridden a school bus to an overnight camp called Mill Hollow. Some of the children on the bus noticed my tics and one of them called me a “freak”. As I got off the bus, a scared child in a strange place, a group of children surrounded me to get a better look. And I was ticking like crazy, not because I was a sinner, but because I was afraid and humiliated.

Your letter reminded me a little of that day. Only I am no longer that naïve, helpless little boy. I now know that there are hundreds of thousands of us with behavioral disorders. And what you, or even a million deluded people like you, might say, doesn’t affect me anymore. I have moved on. I have a beautiful life, a beautiful family and home. I have seen the world. I have danced in the White House and spoken to audiences of thousands. Millions of people have read my books. I have built shelters that have housed thousands of abused children. And I still tic.

Sometimes when I tic, my wife will lovingly set her hand on my cheek and ask if I’m okay. It’s very sweet. And it means a lot to me. My children don’t even notice my tics. They only see the father who loves them. The truth of who I am has set me free. It can set you free too. Because with whatever measurement you use to judge, you must judge yourself. And you are using a very crooked and barbed ruler.

In all honesty, I must admit that I was angered by your letter. But not for me. I am far beyond your reach. I am angry for those children who are still trying to figure out who they are: children who are teased and ridiculed and bullied by cruel, self-righteous people like you. I am angered for those sweet, innocent children, who would rather die than show their tics, because you are so eager to let them know how unlovable and imperfect they are. And some of them do take their precious lives. Yes, this makes me very angry. The other day, at a book signing, a young woman I had never met before, put her arms around me and told me that she loved me. I asked her why. She told me that she had Tourettes and the kids at school made fun of her. But now many of her schoolmates are reading my books and, knowing that I have Tourettes, are now treating her better. I told her that she is not her Tourettes. I told her that I loved her too.

Dear anonymous, I hope you read this letter. I hope it opens your eyes. Or, better yet, your heart. But whether you change or not, remember this: we, the “abnormal” are not the ones to be pitied. The greatest disability is the inability to love those who are different than you. May God Bless you with His unfathomable and unconditional love.

Your flawed servant,

Richard Paul Evans, #1 New York Times bestselling author and a man with Tourettes Syndrome.

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Richard Paul Evans is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Box and the Michael Vey series. He is the author of more than 25 bestselling books. For speaking requests email heather@richardpaulevans.com