This is based as a continuation to the story:
** A Short Story - Work of Fiction **
I hear all the time, "Just accept me as I am! Take it or leave it!"
Some applaud this sentiment. "That's right! You tell them! Be yourself!"
But you didn't accept me as I was... I'm grateful for that.
There was a time before you loved me, where all I wanted was for you to accept me. That was at the height of my infatuation - a time where everything seemed light - exciting - happy. It was a time where I felt like nothing ever would come between us. I wanted to see the appreciation in your eyes. I wanted you to be proud of me. I wanted you to love me.
And in time... you did.
We grew into love as we grew into trust. It was hard sometimes - truly loving you... truly letting you love me... The more we grew in love, the more we saw each other as we truly were - two broken people. Two broken people who each brought along our own struggles and problems.
I remember the first time you told me, "You're hurting yourself."
It was true... but I'd fought this problem alone for so long. It had been years since anyone had confronted me on this. I had let it become a part of me - even when it sunk me into darkness. I didn't believe that it was something I could change. Not anymore.
I remember the fear that plunged into my chest so hard I shook; the anger that warmed my cheeks. The way I screamed - "Why can't you just accept me as I am?"
I wanted to be accepted. What I didn't understand was how much I needed to be loved.
Love doesn't look the other way as someone drinks poison. Love doesn't nod in agreement as someone stumbles off a cliff. Love doesn't try to cover gaping wounds with a bit of makeup and pretend the blood isn't crusting beneath. Love wraps around the person - despite it all... but doesn't hide from the problem. Love doesn't accept the problem as healthy.
You - you loved me.
You never accepted my poison as good for me. You didn't accept me as I was in that moment... but you loved me where I was. You loved me enough to show me I was tearing myself apart. You didn't leave me alone. You brought me to God.
We learned of each other's broken parts - the ones that infatuation hid for awhile, but Trust dragged out into the light. The way I avoided conflict until I exploded. The way you let anger cloud your judgement... All the ways we could take each other for granted, or use our words as weapons, or let our insecurities pull us apart.
It was in those moments we learned how to run to God together. It was a painful learning. We were far from perfect. We were far from always having it figured out. Love, trust, vulnerability - it takes being open to grow those... and it takes honesty to keep them alight.
So we learned to pray together - to take our hurts to His Throne and ask for forgiveness. We learned to find comfort in The Word, and seek wisdom within its pages. We learned more and more how broken we are - but how much more Good and Faithful God is. We learned to grow closer to God in the midst of our brokenness... We didn't accept this was all we'd ever be.
We didn't accept each other where we were - but we loved each other through every step.
I never truly needed you to accept me. What I needed was to love and be loved. What I needed was to be reminded of the love God has for me - no matter what... I see that kind of love reflected in the way we love each other.
You didn't accept me as I was... I'm grateful for that.
~Ophelia - Marie Flowers
Again - this is not a story of my own romantic relationship experience, but it is written as one who knows friendships... and as one who is trying to write how I feel when I think about this.
I admit to cringing almost every time I see, "Accept me as I am! Take it or leave it!"
I understand the sentiment. I do. But part of me still winces.
No. Please. Don't accept me as I am. Please - don't accept me as I am. I don't need you to accept me as I am. Love me where I'm at... but have the strength to show me how to grow... Don't accept that this is all I'll ever be.
Some of my dearest friends are the ones who love me - truly love me - enough to not accept me totally as I am. I'm broken too - like you - like everyone else in this world... I want to be accepted, but what I really need is to be loved enough by others to be told, "Hey... I don't think that was a wise choice." ... "I care about you - so I need tell you that I think you're hurting yourself this way." ... "I know something's wrong. How can I pray for you?"
We need to be that type of friend to each other... We don't need to learn to accept each other's poisons. We need to learn to love each other in the midst of them.
Love me enough to help me grow in Christ. Let me love you enough to do the same for you. Let's show each other the Love of the Father.