there, I’ve said it.
Since our move here, I’ve found it hard to connect with people at a meaningful level. True, I’ve made new friends. But they remain just friends. And so sometimes, I find myself missing the connections I’ve had with friends back home. But there were a few friends here whom I do feel drawn to but somehow stopped short at moving our friendship closer.
M was one of them. At a superficial level, we couldn’t have been more different. Yet as we know each other more, we found complimentary strengths. And then she started telling me ‘I love you’. Initially I didn’t take it seriously, dismissing it as ‘that’s just her culture and they probably say that all the time’. I resisted telling her the same thing because my thought was: ‘well, when I say it, I really want to mean it and not because she said it to me’. And so I struggle every time I hear her say ‘I love you’. ‘No, not yet, Ervina, you’re not ready to tell her that.’
Then God began to show me why I was struggling so much in this area. And it wasn’t a pretty sight. I realized that on a human level, I was waiting to see if M ‘deserves’ my love or not; that I was making her ‘earn’ my love. Ugly, isn’t it? And I always thought I was someone full of love and compassion. Poof, all my pride gone.
Have you ever thought about this – that in any relationship whoever says ‘I love you’ first takes the greater risk simply because the feelings may not be reciprocated? But that is exactly what God did. Even before we were created, He’s said to you and me ‘I love you’ without ever knowing if we will even love Him back; or that we were deserving of His love. He loves us. Period. Does that cheapen His love? No, it cost Him His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Still, he says to us regardless – I LOVE YOU.
So I had a heart-to-heart talk with M yesterday morning. I told her honestly about what I had been struggling with. And there I’ve said it – I LOVE YOU, M. Period.
Side note: At 5pm yesterday, I had a surprise visit from another friend who dropped into my office after her long day of teaching in school – ‘I just wanted to see how you’re doing, Ervina’. I smiled inwards and felt somehow that was God’s way of assuring me that things are only going to get better from now onwards – IF I’ll continue to open my heart to new friends and love them just as who they are.