MODERN DAY MARTHA

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  • Over and Underneath

    Maryanne posted about music today on her blog, and it got me thinking about this song.  It’s all about how we are always loved, no matter what.  I thought, “What a great message for Zoe!”, but the more I think about it, the more I see it as a great message for all of us.  Everyone needs to feel that they are loved, always and no matter what.

    How can we show the people we share our homes and lives with that they are always loved?

    3 Responses to “Over and Underneath”

    1. Maryanne says:

      Oh honey, have you struck dead on a topic I’m wrestling with right now. I will comment again tomorrow when I’ve figured out what to say. But what I will say now, is that I love you!

    2. Carolyn says:

      Dang, Brandy. You pick the big topics, don’t you? Like the nature of love.

      When I was a teenager, I read “The Art of Loving”, by Eric Fromm, who was, I am pretty sure, an atheist, having been “the acceptable public face” of the radical Franklin School and all. But despite his personal beliefs, he wrote respectfully about the nature of God’s love (as manifested in major religious traditions). In his analysis, part of God’s love was unconditional. Part was conditional – requiring performance to certain standards in order to receive blessings.

      Some people say that truly unconditional love should be bestowed mostly on children, especially infants. When they’re very young, it’s Garden of Eden time. Time for lavish love and care, total attention and unconditional acceptance. As they get older, they need to behave themselves in order to stay on God’s good side. Gradually, they must leave the garden of total love, support and acceptance as they face choices between good and evil, and as they face trials in life. Which does not mean that the unconditional part of God’s love disappears. In our relationships with adults, it is unhealthy to show unconditional acceptance of bad behavior, even if we are trying to develop unconditional love.

      It is a very tricky thing to try to show the unconditional part of our love to someone who is acting in a terrible manner, without also teaching them that their behavior is acceptable. People get themselves into a lot of abusive and codependent relationships by trying to show people that they are loved “always and no matter what”. The object of their unconditional love may start to hurt other people, too. On the other hand, if we require children (or adults in our lives) to fulfill our personal dreams in order to gain our love, we may become guilty of idol worship.

      And there is a part of us which does need to feel that we will be loved, “always and no matter what.” So your question is a very profound one. I don’t think I could answer your question without a great deal of thought. But I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said that “God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy”. Maybe we can kind of adopt part of that idea, sharing our pleasure and delight in good things, even little things, which involve the people we love.

    3. Carolyn says:

      Couldn’t get your question off my mind, Brandy. William Glasser, working with delinquent girls, found that it was critical that the girls could trust the adults running the program in order for them to feel loved in a way which led them to voluntarily change their lives. He never skipped an appointment with one of the girls. The girls also needed to develop the realization that the adults running the program had their ultimate best interests in mind, even when restricting their freedom due to the girls’ poor choices. Hard to do at home once kids start growing up. Covey also really emphasizes developing deep trust and deep understanding over time, or “an emotional bank account”. He discusses the power of making and keeping a few carefully selected promises, especially to children.

      Covey also advocates becoming principle-centered rather than personality-centered – and acting rather than reacting – partly in order to prevent manipulation and counter-manipulation. Which brings up another challenge: figuring out which principles we need to center our lives on in order to help the people we love feel that they are loved, always and no matter what. You really do ask some challenging questions, Brandy.