October 11, 2020

I realize that I’m starting this story in the middle. It’s a love story. And there’s so much of the story that I’m leaving out by starting here. There are pages and pages and pages of stories I have yet to tell. I will tell them all, but this one has to come first.

We sat in his car, in the dark. We were having a really tough conversation and it felt like we were at an impasse. I couldn’t understand what he was saying and he couldn’t understand what I was saying. We had been talking for a while as we drove around looking for McDonald’s Strawberry Sundaes, which apparently they don’t make anymore. He was already so wounded by our conversation that the disappointment about the ice cream was almost too much to bear. I would have given any amount of money to put a McDonald’s Strawberry Sundae in his hands.

Instead, he sat there sadly holding his plain vanilla ice cream, parked in the McDonald’s parking lot, trying to tell me what he was seeing. “Renée, every time I say, ‘I love you’ you look away from me and frown.” He showed me what my face looked like–it looked awful. He was right. Lately, I had begun to notice that I felt pain whenever he would look deep into my eyes and tell me how much he loved me. It was very confusing to me, because I loved him so much, and had been longing for him to love me for so long. And now he did. And now he was telling me he loved me all the time. And for some reason that made me sad.

I thought it was triggering some pain from our past. And I was trying really hard to explain that to him, in that car, in that parking lot. But he wasn’t buying it. I prayed that God would help him to hear me. I wished some of my friends were there with me, to explain to him what I was feeling. He thought maybe we should stop talking about it and revisit the conversation the next day. But I felt like there was a little more to say. So we kept talking.

I explained again about my pain. He questioned that as the cause for this particular reaction I was having. For a moment we just stared at each other with worried expressions, scared that we would never get past this. Then he said, “It’s almost as if you’re not surrendered to love. To me loving you.” I sat up straight and stared at him. That struck a chord. “Oh!” I said. “Can you tell me more about that?” My mouth hung open as he expounded on that idea, my heart beating faster in recognition of truth.

“It’s almost as if you feel like you’re not worthy of being loved.”

Tears sprung to my eyes and poured down my face. That was the truth. That was the issue. That was the deep, profound, vibrating chord being struck.

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “YES! That’s it!” I held on to his arm and cried and cried as I told him about it. He wiped away my tears as I let go of pain and began to drink in the freedom that comes with truth.

Like a key that unlocked a mystery, those words made everything make sense. I had never had anyone love me as much as he did. I had never had anyone stare deep into my eyes and tell me over and over again how much they loved me and then expect me to absorb that. It felt oppressive because my whole core, my whole paradigm, my whole world was built around the idea that I was not worthy of that amount of love.

I don’t really know why exactly, but somewhere along the way I received the message that I was lovable, but not really likable. That I was an admirable person, but “too much” to bear. Annoying. Unattractive. Someone people felt they should like, but no one really did. I bore this with resolve, not self-pity. I hardened myself around this weak core. But lately in life I have attracted friends who are the truest kind. Friends that love at all times, in all circumstances. He often told me how much my friends love me and I would always reply, “Yes! I cannot deny that they love me very much!” And I told him again as we sat in the car–me crying streams of tears, he wiping them away gently as they fell. I proclaimed to him how I could not deny that Libby loved me. She had accompanied me to the other side of the world to adopt my son! And Gloria and Cédric. They would listen to me pour out my heart to them hour after hour after hour. I knew these people loved me and I could not deny it. And I only then realized that I’ve spent my life trying to talk myself out of other people’s love for me. God’s. My family’s. My friends’. And now his.

“You know what I feel when you tell me you love me?” I asked. He shook his head. “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” I exlaimed. “That’s what I feel!” That’s what I felt. I told him that I’d been feeling so sad and so oppressed by his love. It was tearing down the flimsy core I had built my life around. It was crushing me. I was used to deflecting love. I was used to misdirecting it. And he had so much love for me that I couldn’t deny it, but I couldn’t support it either. And as his love unlocked this mystery, I felt the old core melting away and a new strong, absorbent core replacing it. I felt free! So free! Free to love! Free to accept love! Free to be loved! By him. By God. By the hordes of people who are trying to love me.

I clung to his arm (such security and safety there) and told him all these things. We got out of the car and he just stood with me and put his arms around me. After a long while, I lifted my face to him. “I love you, Renée” he said.

I took a deep breath and smiled and looked him straight in the eyes as I freely drunk in the full meaning and intention of those words.

“Yes! Yes, you do.”

8 Responses to “Worthy”

  1. Melanie McHale said

    That is so touching! I love it! And I am so happy for you both!


  2. Cheryl said

    This made me cry.i love your writing.im so happy you found love.this was personal for me to.i have tried for years to make my family love me..it took so long for me to stop trying.i always felt my kids missed out on that love because my family never tried to get to know how wonderful they are.we didnt have money but we had tons of love..so I wrapped my family tight and as long as I had them I was good.its very hard for me to feel also because I was wrapped so tight into myself and my kids.i totally get you and am so happy for you.i love you


  3. Karen Harrod said

    Renee I am hanging on here. I can’t wait for all the hundreds of other pages! I need to read the beginning and the end. I am so happy for you. Yes yes yes to truth and it’s miraculous healing power. So very happy that you have accepted his love. I love you my friend.


  4. Elizabeth Lorris Ritter said

    So moving. Thank you for sharing.


    On Sun, Oct 11, 2020 at 8:26 PM Me and George Bailey wrote:

    > Renee Smith posted: ” How he sees me. (At Cathedral Trail in Sedona.) I > realize that I’m starting this story in the middle. It’s a love story. And > there’s so much of the story that I’m leaving out by starting here. There > are pages and pages and pages of stories I have yet ” >


  5. debwright54gmailcom said

    Couldn’t be happier for you, Renee….and him! You are gold in our book. Sounds like he’s the one God has sent for you to realize more of the love He wants to add to your your amazing, faithful, noble story! Your story will continue to be such an inspiration for untold numbers of people. Thank you for this….♥️♥️♥️


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