Unlovable: Terra’s Story

Today, I am honored to have Miss Sarah Salter as my guest here at the Bee Hive. She writes at Living Between the Lines. I think she says it best in her own description: Writer. Christian. Hugger. Friend.
She’s a beautiful person. Sarah is so full of love for others and learning to love herself just as much.

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One of the hardest lessons that I’m learning in my life right now is that just because people don’t love me doesn’t mean that I’m unlovable.

Let me clarify. I know that I am loved. My parents love me. My pastor loves me. I have lots of great friends who love me. Sarah Bee loves me. God loves me.

I get that.

But what about the people in my life that it’s very obvious they don’t love me?
It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? With as many people in my life that I know love me, why is it that I spend so much time lamenting the handful who don’t?
For a long time, I thought that it was about me. That I was the only one that felt this way. And that I must be a special kind of screwed up to be so unlovable.

But what if it’s not about me?
It’s hard to see when you’re looking at your own situation, but I found myself comforting and advising my friend Terra and then found that God was speaking to me through her situation.
Terra is the youngest of four kids. The four kids have three separate dads and so really, they weren’t very close growing up—except her oldest sister, Mariah. While their Mom was out having a very active social life, Mariah was stuck at home babysitting Terra and Terra just hero-worshiped her older sister. But Mariah resented having to take care of her little sister and so as soon as the baby could feed and dress herself, Mariah took off. Over the years, Mariah would occasionally show up and ask for a meal or money or a bed for the night. Terra would get her hopes up that her sister had finally come home, but in the morning, Mariah was always gone again.
The pattern was set. Mariah would get in trouble, come back home for help, take whatever she could get, and disappear again. And because Terra loved her sister and wanted to be loved back, she could never say no. Terra gave her sister drug money and expensive clothes. When Mariah started having babies, Terra would keep the kids for days and weeks at a time while Mariah was on benders and binges. And when the father of one of Mariah’s kids showed up and held a knife to Terra’s throat and took all of the electronics to sell for partying money, Terra didn’t call the police because she didn’t want to make things worse for her beloved sister.
Nothing Terra could do was enough to gain the love of her sister and when Terra would stand up to Mariah and beg her to get help or threaten to cut off the money, Mariah would disappear again, leaving Terra alone and once again, unloved by the person she wanted to be loved by the most.
As I cried with Terra, once again, because of something Mariah had done, it suddenly dawned on me.

It’s not that Mariah doesn’t love Terra. It’s that Mariah can’t love Terra.

My friend has done nothing wrong. She’s not unworthy of love in any way. Her sister is just in a place that she does not have the faculties to love her. And nothing Terra can do or say will ever fix her sister. Mariah has to see it, feel it, and desire to fix it herself.
There’s nothing wrong with the desire to be loved. That’s natural. We all want to be loved. Especially by those like our parents or siblings that are supposed to love us. And when that natural chain is broken, our fragile spirits are wounded and there are going to be symptoms of that. Mostly, we are going to seek “band-aids” and remedies in other places and from other people. And we’re going to wonder what we did to deserve to be wounded and unloved.
We laugh and joke and even groan when we hear the cliché: “It’s not you; it’s me.”
Believe it.
If you’ve been rejected. If you’ve been abandoned. If you’ve been used or neglected or ignored. It’s not your fault.

Believe it with me today. You deserve to be loved.

Until they can love you back—or even if they never can—you just keep loving them. The situation may require you loving them from a distance (which is what I would suggest for Terra or anyone in such a dangerous situation.) But love them anyway. You’ll be happier, stronger, and more at peace because you did.

Comments

  1. Kerri says:

    Thought provoking post. Sarah, as always, and thanks for sharing these thoughts and truths. It really is all about the love at every stage of life.

  2. LeeBird says:

    Thanks for this Sarah! Just what I needed. I’m struggling w/handling the rejection of two people I love dearly. Fear of rejection is literally my deepest fear. I’m trying to learn to accept that as long as I’m in this fallible world, rejection will happen. I know the important thing is the eternal acceptance I have in Christ. But it’s hard to not dwell on the people.

    • Sarah Salter says:

      Lee, I’m convinced that almost all of us have this fear of rejection as our deepest fear, so please don’t feel that you’re alone in this. And you’re completely right that rejection will happen. Not everybody that we love is going to love us back, but I keep reminding myself of The Law of Sowing and Reaping. (Whatsoever ye sow, that also shall ye reap.) If I keep sowing love, two things are going to happen. First, others won’t feel as rejected as they would if I didn’t sow love. And second, eventually, I will reap a harvest of love. I just remind myself of those things and keep on loving!

  3. Bekka says:

    Wise words, my friend. It is very easy to get caught up lamenting the few bad things in our life even when we’re almost surrounded by love and appreciation. Thank you for the gentle reminder this morning :)

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