This was riveting. And emotional for me.
Because my relationship with my father was similar to this. He wouldn’t just punish me, and I won’t speak for my brother, but he would beat me. Sticks or what he referred to as switches, belts, wooden spoons, you name it. And on bare skin, not just to inflict physical pain but to leave behind reminders of it in the welts and bruises. A physical memory of a lesson taught.
Afterwards, he would force me to hug him and he would say those exact words: “That hurt me more than it hurt you. I love you.”
I too learned that Love brought deep pain. That could have been the only message that I learned.
Thankfully, it wasn’t.
My Mother taught me Love, real Love, tenderness, and forgiveness. She taught me the other side of the Coin, the Face of the Coin, and that Face was beautiful. And in many ways, it saved me. She, in real possibility, changed my trajectory, saving me from a Life that I could have had otherwise, one with a much darker Path.
With her life-changing Love, she taught me to ask the question: Why? Through the power of example, she instilled in me a sense of compassion, grace, and forgiveness that has served me well throughout a life, though rich with joy, is also peppered with pain, injustice, and violation.
I am still imperfect. In relationships, I still accept situations more painful than I should. Over time I had to learn, and I am still learning, that loving and being loved isn’t about my ability to accept pain and understand the Other, it’s about valuing myself enough to walk away if necessary.
Love doesn’t have to be this kind of painful.