How Do I Love, Today’s Version

In truth, as far as “relationships” go, I never learned to love. Not the healthy kind of love that allows both parties to flourish, to breathe, to grow. I only knew how to suffocate, shadow, consume and own. Also, how to grovel, scrape and worship. It all involved fight and struggle, there was nothing easy, light or refreshing about my way.WIN_20191219_07_15_06_Pro (3)_LI

.  Is it any wonder, then, that my relationships never worked out for very long? I was an empty hole, covered by skin and bone, in some gruesome game of tug of war. There had to be conflict, that meant there was ‘passion’.

(Needless to say, drug addicts and alcoholics don’t make good partners, the patients manifest the pinnacle of selfish behavior. I was able to finally learn how it feels when my husband was at the height of his addiction and alcoholism, it is a grievous thing to watch a family member self destruct. I was able to feel the desolation that my family had felt with me, watching me kill myself in slow motion, over a twenty three year period. But I digress.)Innocent Image3

.  After the long years of addiction, and failed relationships, after the husband’s incarceration and our eventual divorce, I turned to God. I dug into the Bible with the help of others who had studied it for decades. I never knew that our Creator had given us a “Driver’s Manual” for our lives, the most loving of gifts to steer us through a loveless world.

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“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017

.  There was one fact I had never pondered, because the god I had heard talk of was a harsh and punishing one. If you do this “He will punish you!” and this did not cause me to draw close to him at all. My Dad was fierce, and I never saw my Mom adoring him. So what was I to go by? I thought I knew how to love, I used the word all the time. But I was just parroting  words I read in books, or saw in movies.

.  It was hard to admit that I had no concept of self sacrificing love. A love that puts the care and concern for another ahead of oneself. A gentle love that bathed the object of it’s affection with gentle rain of thoughtful acts, selfless acts of kindness with no reciprocation needed, no, nor even wanted! This indeed was most strange and foreign to my nature!IMG_20170810_015053_330

.   Was I evil? Was I damned? A psychopath? A person incapable of genuine feelings of love? Weren’t we born knowing how to love? All these questions raced through my mind, and a great fear set in. Could other people see this black hole inside of me? Was I doomed to a selfish and incredibly lonely future?

.   The spiritual guides I had surrounded myself with never gave any indication they knew my secret, but it was obvious I was being crushed by a heavy weight. As I continued to learn about God, about the way he created mankind and this magnificent garden home, about his amazing capacity for forgiveness for repentant ones, I saw this God, my God, in a new light. Here was love. Real live loving kindness and goodness from the God who was my true father, my real father, Jehovah.flower girl Susiejpg_LI

Author: ST Martin

I am an Artist, Poet and Author. A Survivor of Violent Sexual Abuse and Rape, I have lived thru Severe Domestic Violence, Twenty Three years of Addiction and Alcoholism, Family Dysfunction, Chronic Pain, Dependence on Opioids, and 2 Venomous Snake Bites...I have Been Stabbed, Shot at, Tied to a Tree and Choked Unconscious. A Quarter Horse Rolled on Me, as did a Lawn Tractor. I also Wrecked a Harley into a Tree! I also have PTSD and Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder, and spent my 18th birthday in a Locked Psychiatric Ward. I am so much more than this: I feel like a tiny seed that sprouted in a desert, and now has grown into a Passion Vine. My Art is my Voice, Screaming, Crying, Praying, Loving, Laughing, Healing- all in Riotous Color...