My mother used to say I never met a stranger. She would laugh and roll her eyes as I spoke to everyone I passed by in stores, pretending it didn’t make her nervous as her 4 year old decided some random person was safe. I was without fear, invincible, and though I knew people could do bad things, I never believed they wanted to.
I believed deep in my bones that people were good with the ability to do bad, but that the good would always win out if given the chance. This belief fueled me, motivated me, and I can honestly say I passionately loved people as the human race.
But, then I grew up. I met more people and made my own choices without the opportunity to hide behind my mother’s leg if I got nervous. I let myself get close to these strangers and our passing conversations in grocery lines no longer ended so soon. I made friendships and I trusted, and the more I trusted, the more that trust was broken or taken for granted.
I was left walking wounded, searching for someone, somewhere to love me as much as I loved them. My belief came from this seed inside me, a place in my heart where I was taught that there is a Heavenly Father, a Creator, a Loving God who made the world and everything in it. I believed, and still believe, that He walks with me and watches over me. I believe He sees everyone, and loves everyone with a ferocity that burns through everything that might separate Him from His creation.
I wanted to love others as much as God loves me.
To love is to fight against the bad days like your life depends on it–to fight for each other even if you’re strangers because we are in this world together. Life isn’t easy because this world isn’t meant to be our home, but a depot where we take different roads that intersect, or share in the journey of those around us.
The most difficult lesson I ever learned nearly broke me. That lesson was simply: Not everyone knows how to love and be loved.
Writing this, remembering this about myself, it feels as though I’m speaking about another person, some girl I used to observe and admire from far away. I can’t remember what it felt like to be that person now, to be so certain that everything would be okay because “Everything works to the good of those who love Him,” Romans 8:28. I can’t remember how it felt to be brave enough to reach out and take a risk on getting close to someone, or how to let myself become attached to someone.
Where He made me brave before, I somehow made myself a coward recently. I can’t remember how it felt to be that person now, but I miss her, and I’m desperately trying to find her again.