Old love letters, Source Flickr, Author Rachel Ashe of Vancouver, Canada (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)
Almost all of us have, at some time or other, run into an old flame and felt the desire to reconnect. What draws us is a mix of nostalgia and the desire to correct past mistakes, to “get it right” this time.
The problem is that many of the former relationships to which we find ourselves drawn as abuse survivors were, to put it mildly, toxic.
Why do we save the love letters of a man who repeatedly cheated on us? Why are we tempted to call the boyfriend who stole our charge cards and emptied our bank account? Why do we find ourselves checking Facebook for the ex who put us in the emergency room?
The answer is not that time heals all wounds. It is not that we are seeking closure, that we enjoy pain…or that we are simply too dim to know better.
One reason is familiarity. There is something powerfully familiar about these toxic relationships. They evoke buried memories from our past, memories we once associated with love. Continue reading
“From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band,
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They’re the songs of every man.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.”
– From a Distance, Bette Midler
Though human love may fail us, Divine love continues to offer us hope. We must, however, be wary not to see rejection where it does not exist. Abuse victims readily believe themselves unworthy of God’s love. And God’s love is unmerited. Yet He offers it anyway, which is why His love is so powerfully restorative.
The amazing thing is that God is not at a great distance from us. His outstretched hand is there for the taking. We need but turn to Him.
Kudos to Miss M from a longtime fan. May another generation discover her music.
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PBS recently re-aired “Divine Madness”. The Divine Miss M, circa 1980: Bette Midler in her younger years. A blast straight from my past.
I am, of course, dating myself. Maybe the New Year’s celebrations have me in a nostalgic mood. But I look back over the decades with some wonder at how I survived…how any of us survived.
Bette Midler strikes a chord for me, both musically and metaphorically. That voice – muscular and poignant. That manner – brash and vulnerable.
The first time I heard “The Rose” over the radio I had to pull the car to the side of the road for the tears in my eyes. The same thing happened the first time I heard “From a Distance”. I couldn’t help myself.
There is a profound connection here. “The Rose” is about the search for love, when love seems unattainable. “From a Distance” is about the search for brotherhood, which always seems beyond our reach.
“Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower and you its only seed.”
– The Rose, Bette Midler
I think it’s fair to say that abuse victims are particularly desperate for love. We deserve but do not see ourselves as worthy of love. Having had so little of the real thing, we settle for poor imitations without even realizing our error. Continue reading