Monday, June 30, 2014

Emily's love language

IMG_5972June 2014demilleparade of homes swimming lessons
(Mr Renn capturing unsolicited butt-shots, for which I forgave him)

A lot of the angsty opinion-sharing mess that has been eating up all social media platforms lately has been a drain on my moderate heart.

And moderate is an impossible position to defend with rhetoric, it lacks the pathos of the extremes, and gets scorn from all sides.  I mostly conserve my energy, unless I stumble upon bullying, at which point I unleash all my scholar mom powers to try to say things that soften hearts without offending egos.  Not a super fruitful use of energy, all told.

I tend not to air my opinion of my own volition, because despite being 95% more informed than most of the opinion slingers out there, I am keenly aware that A) I still do not have enough information to form an authoritative opinion and B) I ought not to share my opinion unless I see a clear, loving, and constructive reason and venue for doing so.

But one particularly thoughtless bout of opinion sharing that our friend Facebook kept thinking I wanted at the top of my feed, was an acquaintance insisting that his wife is more perfect than he is, and he thereby needs all the help he can get to be useful.  Essentially an assertion that women are morally superior to men, and a genuine belief behind this assertion that it is a loving thing to say about women.  This may blow your mind, but I know a lot of women who deeply, skin-crawlingly hate this kind of assertion.  You know why?  Because they know it's not true.  And women need more reasons to feel guilty like they need holes in their heads.

The most loving thing you can do for a woman is to allow her to be perfectly human, and to love her anyway.  To extend her forgiveness freely, and to ask her forgiveness earnestly.  To acknowledge and accept to human-ness of humans.  To accept that all stories are biased, all people do selfish things, no human is above vice, and to choose to love them anyway.

I've decided in my self-important way that forgiving other people is 90% of what we are here to learn.    If there is one skill that God needs in order to do His job?  It's forgiving and loving people who do hurtful things.

One of my favorite things about Mr Renn, is that whenever I get that crazy look in my eyes, and turn all ranty on him because I'm hormonal, or tired, or stressed, or hungry, or bored, or feeling hurt, he's always ready to forgive me before I'm ready to ask forgiveness.  He's figured out that Emily screws up a lot, but that if he gives me the space to take one step back for every two steps forward, I can still make steady progress in good directions.  I'm pretty sure he's not telling anyone that his wife is perfect or angelic, but he may be telling them that I work hard, think hard, love unconditionally, and apologize almost as quickly as he forgives me.   Somehow I find that more loving.  Everyone wants to feel known.  Everyone craves that space where they are both truly known and loved.  You can't know an angelic woman; an angelic woman is an object.  But to know and to love a flawed, gifted, dynamic human being, and to offer her forgiveness and to value her enough to ask for it in return, is the most loving thing I can think to offer her.  To offer it to a mother is the seminal way to teach her children of their own infinite worth.

Forgiveness is an act of faith in several directions.  Faith in a person's heart and potential, faith in the importance of relationships, faith that Someone can make unarticulated wrongs right again, faith in your own ability to let go of hurt.  It's pretty marvelous, all told. It may just feel better to give it than to receive it, too.


Cheryl Libutti said...

How you can write such thoughtful, lovely and deep blog posts with four children and wicked sleep deprivation blows my mind. This was beautiful and loving. Thank you.

--jeff * said...

you do have a nice backside, so i'm glad you weren't too hard on your sneaky photographer-mate.

...and your posting it shows you probably weren't.
brene brown would be proud.

--jeff * said...

interestingly enough, right above this space here you have written, "You know comments are my love language, right?"

so there's that, too. : )

--jeff * said...

sorry for the multiple comments, but i this may very well be my favorite post you've ever written.

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