Monday, January 02, 2006

Written Unconditionally

People have asked how it is I could pick my self up again and again to face each day in times of adversity. I answer that I never give up on the belief that today I might find the answer. I am the resilient child. I am the one who never stops trying to get it right. I’m one of those blow up clowns. You knock me down and I bounce up—usually with a smile.

I never learned to leave a bad situation, until a better one presented itself. I never learned to say no, because forgiveness came so easily. I always made that extra room, because I knew I could get over being cramped. If someone’s luggage got lost, I prayed that it was mine. I knew that I would handle it best. I didn’t want the pain of watching someone else in distress, when I knew I could just switch into adventure mode.

So many people carry burdens of bad events for so long. The damage that they do themselves by being angry over things is confusing to me, especially when I see it in people otherwise so smart. Why do they think to hurt others will make themselves not hurt? Why don’t they know it only makes the hurting larger and more pronounced? It takes so much less energy to let people in and close to me. Yet they work so hard to keep people away and push them out.

I’ve been thinking about where my resiliency, my open heart, my faith in stars and people springs from. Two words keep answering each time the question comes—unconditional love. I am the child of a father who loved me exactly as I am. He delighted and took pride in me and wondered in my wondering. He did not indulge me. He gave to me the best he had to offer—his stories, his songs, his barrel chest to lean upon when I was lost.

And because he expected nothing in return, everything was his, and I see him in some way in everyone I meet.

I am the child of a resilient father, no question that is also true. But it is his unconditional wish for my happiness, at his expense, if that was the cost, that made me resilient, loving, and ever ready to try to get it right just one more time—for me and for him.

How could I not forgive those who’ve not experienced love unconditional? How could I not have compassion for their fault, even when they throw things at me? Their world, their thoughts, their memories are tied up in knots so small. Why should they understand or believe my motivations, if they’ve no experience with such thing? To them, I must seem to be a giant fairy tale, a smooth operator, a manipulator looking for their weakness.

Love given conditionally is not love to me.

Yet to talk of such things to people who have never known it is like trying to describe the exact shade of a color. You can only show them and hope that one day they will open their hearts enough to see. I have no choice but to try.

It's written unconditionally above my father's name, right there upon my heart.

—me strauss Letting me be


mergrl said...

what a phenomenal post Liz, and such a wonderful tribute to your dad. You are an amazing soul my friend (hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Hi mergrl,
Thank you for saying that. I have been thinking about how to say this for a few days now and it just sort of came together tonight.
I'm glad you heard what I was trying to say.

Trée said...

Liz, what can I say. You speak so much truth I always feel anything I try and add just muddies the wonderful clear water that so artfully pours forth from your words and heart. So, I'll just nestle in my big warm leather chair and drink in your words over and over and just be thankful for the gifts you share so freely.

mojo shivers said...

How one shows love is not written in stone, but rather in moments.

ME Strauss said...

Hello Tree,
Welcome to 2006.
Having you in that big leather chair is so important to me. It gives me peace and hope that what I write might be worth reading.
That is a most powerful gift, my dear dear friend.

ME Strauss said...

Hello Mojo,
I agree, judgments are not the stuff of love moments of being and caring are. You said it well, but then you're one of my favorite writers.

Indeterminacy said...

This is a great and inspirational post for the New Year. Was the photo a self-portrait? I think it's a wonderful photo, and it goes well with the text, which is a self-portrait in words.

Jennifer said...


You were a lucky girl. I wish everyone in the world could receive the gift of unconditional love.

Wonderfully written piece.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Indie,
Thank you. Yes I think the photo goes well with the writing too. He takes wonderful pictures of me.
I hope this year is full of exciting and glorious happenings for you.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Jennifer,
It's so lovely to have you be part of my morning again.

Yeah, Wow! I was a lucky little girl, almost a princess to have a guy who loved me unconditionally. It's certainly had an impact on my whole view of the world and people. I can't help but see good things and believe in angels.

Kelley Bell said...

You dont need to believe in angels ARE one!


ME Strauss said...

Oh Kelley,
How do you have such synchronicity?
How do you know exactly when to come by to say just the right thing?
Thank you. I think you are the one.

Betty said...

I can only imagine how different this world would be if we all had fathers like yours. No wonder you're so awesome!

ME Strauss said...

Hi Betty,
I think YOU'RE awesome and there are plenty who will attest that I'm far from it. :)
But we both agree that my dad was.

Rain said...

I haven't had a good relationship with my father, yet I feel very happy to read about your father and his unconditional love. Perhaps it reassures me.

ME Strauss said...

Oh Rain,
I am glad to hear that. Maybe it says there are good ones out there. I don't know.

melly said...

And go figure those people who get mad because of things out of their control, like the weather or a traffic jam, that's even more of a mystery to me.
Unconditional love is unconditional acceptance of your life as it is, or darn close to it :)
You're the best!

ME Strauss said...

Well put, Melly!
I couldn't have said it better myself. Like yelling at the car in front of you is going to make a difference. :)
You got it right there!

Doug said...

You are a gem, Liz. No question.

ME Strauss said...

Aw, Doug,
Thank you. You make me blush.

garnet david said...

Liz- Happy New Year. This is a moving testament to your generosity. And to your father's as well.

I often feel helpless when trying to convey the security I got from loving parents. As you imply, all one can do is try to pass on the gift you have been given.

Because of your openness I can see myself more clearly.


ME Strauss said...

Thank you David,
You are such a beautiful mirror for me to look upon and share myself with. I truly feel so close to you.

toadman said...

"...for it is by loving, not by being loved, that we come closest to the soul of another"

- George McDonald

Hello there Liz.. long holiday.. back now.. trying to catch up!

ME Strauss said...

Hello Tim,
Welcome home,
Thank you for that beautiful quote.
It's good to have you back again.