Friday, May 20, 2011

Looking for Love

One thing we recognize early on is the need for love and acceptance. Some of us struggle with 'Dad issues' and a feeling that we are out of balance, but just can't figure out why. It can make us feel inferior and awkward.

It is intensified if our impromptu replacement fathers are abusive or absent. Then add to that spiritual images for deities are almost always male and seen as Father's. What's a kid to do?

It is difficult then to see a God as a Father and loving. So we felt empty. Which leads us to make the mistake of starting a relationship before understanding what it is to love and be loved.

Not all single parent or blended families are imbalanced. But those that are, can leave us grasping for answers to questions we can't even fathom. Most of it becomes clear with patience and time if we are lucky.

My Story:

As a teen, I was obsessed with discovering the 'why' to everything. I was a dutiful note taker and the kind of student who asked for homework. I know, hate me later. So even on Sundays I was studying and writing everything down. My quest for answers and knowledge was intense. It was my purpose in life I guess. And I was undaunted and happy with my young quest.

It helped focus my attention away from negative influences and destructive habits, so my Mother never discouraged my rather unique approach to life. Just because she was a dedicated member of the Christian church didn't mean she forgot her heritage, and she taught me much about our Native American ancestors and their beliefs.

This fascinated me to no end. And you may laugh, but I would go on nature walks when I was sad and set with the trees deep in the forest near our home and listened to the stream, the deer, the leaves around me and quieted myself. I would imagine that all of nature truly was originated from ONE source and that the God I was taught to worship was the image of that ONE.

My quest was growing deep, but I still felt rather shallow. Like my roots just weren't quite planted. So I continued my notes and research.

I remember a Sunday with my pastor preaching the importance of finding our own answers. Reading the Bible for ourselves and not depending on any man/woman for our interpretations. He read how we were to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12-13) And admonished us to pray and read for ourselves. I was impressed and something about it seemed right.

More than right. So I chose to analyze the Bible. I read the poetry of Solomon, but honestly didn't quite understand what the heck it was trying to say. So I switched to the 'Love chapter', 1 Corinthians 13, and started reading it like we were taught in High School Lit.

In this chapter we learn about the attributes of Love and why it is so important. It is the very essence of God and what we should strive to exemplify. I started conversations with my Spiritual Dad and would honestly tell 'Him' that I was trying but was quite frankly confused and angry. I couldn't grasp the concepts they preached about a family and a loving father for guidelines. And it made me feel very inferior and alone.

I can laugh when I think back now, but it all felt so heartbreaking at the time. I really felt like if I didn't figure it all out I was going to be lost forever. Teens put so much pressure on themselves sometimes.

So I looked around me and saw for the first time that I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I was trying to fit into what the object of my desire wanted most. Change me? No way! But I was changing myself for no good reason. I was allowing my search for love and acceptance to shape me. And that was unacceptable.

Maybe age and maturity helped a bit. But there are many predators out there that hunt the young and confused. I was quickly approaching adulthood and still didn't possess the answer I wanted.

So I gave up. Yep, that's what I did. Oh I might have called it enjoying life, or doing what I want for a change, or some other great name. But what I really did was give up my quest.

I started dating.

But that is where my story really begins...
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