This is not what I had in mind.
This weekend began the Carnival holiday here in Germany, leaving us all free from school or work until the 23rd. We have been planning the trip for weeks now - going up to stay at Sylvie's cabin in Austria for a long weekend of skiing and good food. The trip still ended up happening, I just bade everyone farewell when they left yesterday afternoon. Conveniently enough, I fell miserably ill on Thursday and decided it would be better to quarantine myself than expose everyone to my germs.
So here I am, horribly sick and horribly alone on Valentine's Day weekend when I was supposed to go skiing for the first time with my adopted family.
But the thing is, it's okay.
I'd be lying if I said this was even remotely close to what I wanted. Being alone is hell enough, being sick and alone is a whole new level of not okay. But I said goodbye as they all drove away, reassuring myself that Jesus has got this covered, that He's going to make this work out anyway.
Last night I had a bit of a mental breakdown. I felt miserable and feverish, tired and hungry while not actually wanting to eat anything. I sat on my bed and did that thing, you know, where you talk to Papa but you're just monologuing, not allowing Him any place to cut in. I went on and on about how I knew that I wasn't really alone, how I knew He was there with me and that was more than enough, how I was sorry that such knowledge hadn't passed from my head to my heart yet. After a while, He stopped me.
"You're not getting it, Beloved."
"This weekend is not about you falling in love with Me. You already are, so fervently. This weekend is about you falling in love with yourself."
I shut up and let His words sink in. Obviously, He was right. I've spent years trying to see myself as He does, trying to understand that I'm worth real love. But it is a far more difficult process than we think. So I got up off of my bed and crossed the room to where my little mirror rested on a shelf and looked at the girl in the reflection.
She was tired and her eyes were red. Her hair was frizzy and her lips were chapped and her nose was puffy from all the tissues. She was sad and defeated, all the while feeling guilty for feeling that way while she has such an amazing life. I took a deep breath. And then I started to affirm her.
"You're good, you know. Even if you're not perfect. You don't need to be perfect, you're amazing as you are. And you're beautiful and you're talented and you're smart. And I'm sorry that I never tell you so. I . . . I do love you, even though I never say it. And I'm sorry about that and I'll try to get better. And I will keep telling you that you are beautiful and good and smart and talented until you believe it for yourself. Because I know you don't see it now but it's true. And you're going to be okay. You already are."
I think there was a reason that I needed to have such a revelation when I was sick and sad, when I was at my physically "least attractive" and least content since I moved here. I don't for a second believe that Papa made me sick - that's not who He is - but I undoubtedly believe that He used my sickness and my lonely weekend to bring me something amazing.
Love. From myself. The only thing I've ever really been missing.
I know with certainty that it's not just going to be easy to keep loving me. Surely there will come days where my reflection or my personality or my voice will irk me indescribably. But I took off another pair of shades yesterday, one that was tainting my view of the amazing woman that Papa designed. I am no one to tell Him how to do His job.
Like He said to me yesterday, "Charity, you're always talking about how people are art, how they are so uniquely beautiful and fantastic. You, Dear, are the same way. The next time you count beautiful things, include yourself on the list."
Darlings, I implore you to do the same thing, to look at yourself the way Papa does and to accept yourself for the exquisite person who looks back. It is not easy. But let me encourage you in what I know, that life is too short to tramp through ignorant of the beauty that you contain. Let's make 2015 the year of self-love. I assure you, it's more than worth it.