LOVE (Letters to My Daughter) #atozchallenge
Time is flying sweet girl! Your beautiful mother and I keep grabbing you and holding you for as long as you will let us. We know that as time passes, your hugs will be less frequent, so we are enjoying them as much as we can and as often as we can.
You rarely say it back when I tell you that “I love you”, but you usually blow me a kiss and grin wildly. Thank you for your love, and never forget that I will ALWAYS LOVE YOU! (cue the Whitney Houston song)
That word is complex and the personal meaning of it has evolved tremendously throughout my life. Love has been the central focus of my heart’s deepest desires. I am not sure if that is a normal thing for a guy or not? Love was the focus of my hope. Love was something I have sought to give as much as I can –though I often failed to show my love as frequently as I should. Love was magical like all of the best romantic movies.
Love was something I thought I understood, but I was clearly mistaken and I’ll tell you why.
For me, Love began as this perfect idea. It was a fairy-tale that future-me would find unending happiness, if and when I found my true love.
When reflecting on my younger self’s thoughts regarding “love” and my attempt at finding it; I realize it all culminated into what was actually a journey to self discovery. I now have the luxury of looking back at my life and seeing so clearly the things I was unknowingly blind to at the time.
Some advice: Reflection is good in short increments, because it helps you grow as a person. But dwelling on the past is not living in the present, and not living in the present is not living at all.
The unfiltered truth of why I sought true love from such an early age, the truth behind why love was all I truly cared about… was due to my deep emptiness, and sometimes sadness.
It is hard for me to say where the seeds of self-doubt, fear, insecurities, and eventually self-loathing were planted, but they were there. The when’s are easier to answer than the why’s, but in this case I know neither.
This battle with depression was a constant companion of mine. I hid it so well for so long. I wonder to this day if others could see past my mask of friendly energy,
unshakable confidence, and constant humor?
I’ll skip to the end of my love story, or shall I say the beginning?
You see, I’d much rather talk about your mother and you rather than myself, but it might help you one day to know the brief version of my story. (For those of you that want the more grown up version, read Finding Love Again)
My love story:
I had a hole in my heart and I thought if I found love, then I would hold it and never let go, which would surely fill the hole. My entire life became a journey to find my true love, but it took years and years. So, I tried filling that void in my heart with anything that I could, and not one of them was healthy or good for me.
Much later, I thought I had finally found what I was looking for, and I was in love!
Then confusion quickly set in, because that hole in my heart was still there.
It didn’t close even a little bit. It seemed to even have grown. How could it be? I found love! I was supposed to feel whole, all better, and have unending happiness, right? Yet, I still battled with sadness, because I thought the emptiness in my heart would never be filled.
Everything I thought about love turned out to be wrong.
In the darkest moments of my life, I felt as though my heart had vanished entirely. I thought I would never be whole, and that thought pushed my hope away.
This is when I started to open my eyes. A few events seemed to coincidental and I began to see what was always within me, around me, holding me, lifting me, consoling me, wanting my love returned to thee. The more I opened my weary eyes the more the blinding light shone through. (This can give you the imagery to what I was feeling: Shadowy Grave of Hope)
My heart finally became whole, and was filled beyond my wildest dreams, my fairy-tale dreams. It all became as clear as day.
Have you figured out who filled my heart yet?
Do you think it was your mother, my gorgeous wife Samantha? Close, but no.
It was Jesus!
You see, I learned that I could never have a heart whole enough to love myself properly, let alone another person, until Jesus filled the void. Jesus is at the center of my heart now. He lives in my heart, because He IS LOVE. I could never love myself or others without love itself, without Jesus.
With Jesus fighting my battles, I never fought with sadness again. Not like I had before.
With Jesus filling my heart with love, I was able to love myself for the first time in my life.
With Jesus’ love and my own love, I was finally able to give love to another person. That’s when God put your mom in my path, and the obvious love we had for each other was immediately present from the very first moment we saw each other.
Now, my heart is exploding with love for my God, my wife, and you. I am blessed beyond words, and overjoyed with happiness all of the time. Remember how I wanted unending happiness? Well, I found it and will have it forever when I eventually get to go home and experience overflowing JOY forever with Jesus.
I want you to know how happy you make me. I want you to know how much I love you. There has not been one day since your birth that you don’t make me smile. You are the most special gift that our little family has ever received. We could not be more honored to be your parents.
Your mom and I are always blown away by the effect you have on anyone that comes into contact with you. Your grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles are absolutely over the moon in love with you. They all fight to hold you, play with you, teach you, walk with you. You are one special little girl, and have more love than you will ever know.
The only advise I can give, is to love people with everything you have.
I love you so much Winslow.
PS- I’ll play kitchen with you later, but you won’t remember that when you’re old enough to read this.
H= Home Run!
J= Just Joking