Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The trick to love...

As we were going through all the boxes in my basement storage, I came across a piece of paper I had saved with a picture of a dog on it that had torn up a bunch of toilet paper and looking very remorseful. I’m imagining that I saved it because it reminded me of my parent’s dogs, Gipper and Ty, who have chewed up their fair share of bathroom tissue.

But, at the bottom of the page is a quote, a quote that really got me thinking. It says, “It’s not trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst.” I’m sure when I read this at the time, I thought of those dogs too. I mean, they’ve eaten everything from sewing needles to cherished photographs to money. Now, when I read that quote, I think about me and my life and how true that statement really is.

I will be the first to admit that I am a difficult person. I have mellowed a bit over the years, but I am more than willing to say that I’m not the most patient person. I can be quick tempered. I like things my way. And when I’m mad and things aren’t going my way, watch out!

Now, this is not to say that I don’t think there are positive things about me. I’m well aware of my good points as well, but I also know that sometimes those negatives can wipe the positives out of someone’s memory through my ridiculous behavior. And that’s what got me thinking about how you really know if someone loves you. Because it’s true. If someone loves you even through the bad times, they must really love you.

I think back to what I put my parents through as a teenager and they must have really loved me to not have kicked me out at 18 and say “see ya later!” Yes, they are my parents and of course they love me, but you didn’t have to live with me during those lovely formative years.

I think about my sister and how horrible I treated her growing up and now she’s my best friend. She really had to love me to deal with the nonsense that I threw her way. That poor girl dealt with way too much drama for way too long. And yes, it’s another example with a family member, but I know many families who don’t speak to each other for far less than the things that I have done.

There are many friends of mine who’ve gone through a lot with me as well and as I get older and our lives get more complicated, I can tell pretty easily who is going to be there and love me no matter how ugly and complicated my life gets.

Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about me – it’s not like I was the worst human being in the world. But, I wasn’t entirely happy with myself and that just leads to negative behavior. And until recently, I had spent a lot of time being unhappy and it led to that bad behavior again. You know what they say – misery loves company. That all changed when I decided to make the change that I needed to and now I couldn’t be happier.

And a large part of that happiness comes from the wonderful person that I’ve found to share my life with. He is truly a person that loves me even at my worst. He’s seen the worst that I have to offer and he has stuck around. And I think I can probably say I’ve seen the worst of him as well and it only makes me appreciate our relationship more. When you see someone in their least favorable light and find your love not only still there, but maybe even stronger, that’s something special.

I’ll be hanging this paper on my fridge to remind me everyday of how lucky I am to have that kind of love in my life in so many shapes and sizes. Maybe I should make a copy for my parents too - for the next time those dogs eat something else they shouldn’t. That’ll probably be tomorrow. You’ve got to love those dogs!

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