Intimacy. There’s a block. I’ve known it in my bones for months. Followed by self-protection from receiving love. I feel it with my husband, my kids, my friends. Blame it on hormones, middle age, or I’m tired, but it’s more than that; its an interior intimacy block. I’m afraid to trust so I put up a wide thick cement guard around my heart to ensure all the love stays out. Because if it doesn’t come in, it can’t leave. Or be taken.
You see, external love is easier to accept. Outside love came when I did a good job. When I made someone proud or happy or rescued a suicidal friend. When I smiled big and took care of them. When I gave of myself I was loved.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized this heart wrenching truth: I’ve been subconsciously looking for external love because I didn’t know I already had it inside. You’re telling me Divine Love has been here the whole time? Not for lack of being offered, but because I didn’t dare trust myself to completely receive it?
Last week though, on my spiritual director’s couch, I found myself sharing about this deep insatiable desire to bridge my fun, little girl side with the contemplative, deep adult side. Here’s the caveat. I’m actually craving the midway connection.
The balance of fun and contemplative. Whimsy and deep. Crowds and intimacy.
I know experiencing love is possible. I can tell you ’til I’m blue in the face that we’re loved. That’s Bible 101, people.
I’m loved, you’re loved, we’re all loved. Love for all (said in an Oprah voice). But experiencing true interior unconditional love? I’m not sure I’ve ever been aware that I wasn’t allowing myself the gift of receiving pure transformational love.
There’s a block, I told my director. We’ll call her Anne. She’s very Anne-of-Green-Gables-y. An intimacy block.
Here’s what we’re gonna do. She invited me to close my eyes and imagine myself with Jesus.
That’s when I see him. Not a specific face, but a frame, a figure. He reaches for my hand and we walk up the grassy hill to a magnificent oak tree, whose grand arms stretch across the horizon. Miss Oak’s branches reach bare and strong, like a canopy sketched in the clear sky. At the base of her trunk is a white quilt and a picnic basket. Together, he and I sit, knees almost touching.
What’s he saying? Anne asks.
I have no idea. I’m resisting. I’m adding cement even in my imagination. My imagination. How can I self-protect in my own vision? Yet, here I la de da am.
Let Jesus meet you, she urges. Let Him reach for you.
But it’s too late, my heart is stone. I lose myself, and suddenly I’m watching the scene as if on a movie screen.
That’s when the damn tears fall. I don’t want him to touch me. My legs go cold from the waist down.
It’s cold in here? she asks.
No, I search for words until they come out of the fog. I’m numb.
I have a brief image of hugging Jesus and rolling down the hill like children. I want to lay my head in his lap and let him play with my hair. To cartwheel down the hill. To devour all the salami and apricot stilton and red wine in that picnic basket. I want to be 6 and 38 all at the same time. But I definitely don’t want to hear him say, I love you.
Come back, Anne invites.
I open my eyes and can feel myself on the brink of a major bawling precipace. One more minute and I may not recover.
My words erupt like a volcano: When I was little, a babysitter touched me inappropriately. Following that memory is a download of other memories, details that don’t matter here. What does matter is that this experience awakened my awareness to this dang intimacy block.
I want intimacy but I resist intimacy. And the self-protecting has almost killed me.
The block almost destroyed my childlike zest for life.
The intimacy block made me apathetic and physically tired.
It stole creativity and boomeranged anger. Anger so deep it spewed in my dreams, then dissipated when I woke. But I knew anger was close. Lurking like a dragon; puffing smoke. Waiting.
Awakening to this block has been one peachy ride in coming face-to-face with my depravity.
I share this with you because I wonder if we all have something blocking us from receiving raw, unconditional, interior love first? As sexual, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual beings, we are parts making up one whole human. If one part of us is blocked, all of us suffers. I wished it wasn’t true, but I’ve lived knowing it is. Unaware, this block has affected my connection with God, myself, my spouse, and countless others scenarios. Do you see the ripple?
I’m a wife, a mother, a soul longing to become whole and hellbent on healing. To realize that I’ve subconsciously fought interior love most of my life? What the healing! In His gentle timing, He brought this memory up to be revealed and healed.
I’m risking receiving. I’m allowing myself to experience God’s love. Because as I do, it’s changing everything. Perhaps the scariest part comes in believing I can receive it. That it won’t be taken or rejected. Or die.
This is my homework. To go back to white quilt under the tree and sit with Jesus. To let him reach for me and receive his love. It sounds easy on paper. but I now see the block. This thick chasm is what’s been choking the bridge I so desperately want to run across. Back and forth from fun to contemplative. Whimsy to deep. Crowds to intimacy. I want all of it. A beautiful balanced blend. But I’ve been scared to death to risk receiving.
I wonder if this connecting crossroads is where some of us walk away. Eff love, we say. There’s no such thing as unconditional love. There is though. It’s already inside. That’s what I’ve been looking for this whole time. I can feel it. I got a peek behind the curtain. Stepping forward to receive may be the scariest decision one will ever make.
Let the self-protection fall so that love can come pouring in.