Hey Little Love.

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I tried to write about you a few days ago, on International Women’s Day.

Well-manicured hands rested on the keyboard, longing to participate. Fingers struggled to type – not because they had nothing to say, but because their truth seemed out of place on this day when we were to celebrate women by celebrating the girls we once were – the innocents with imaginations and the biggest of dreams.

Oh, I was celebrating. Please believe me in this. I was celebrating you. But I didn’t know how to say it.

Today I do, little Love. Today, I do.

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Did you see that? I called you Love. Because you are. Yes, you with the wonky smile and the thigh gap that’s not from skinny legs but from hips your mom called “good for breeding” because they were wide. You with the still occasional lisp because of the days you sucked your finger and rubbed silk between your fingers for comfort. You are love. And you are loved.

I know love was a foreign word when you were little. Your first lasting memories of home were of the fighting, the screaming, the words carelessly flung like daggers – the stench of stale alcohol and the marks from cigarettes left to burn near the man collapsed in a heap in the recliner.  There were threats to not say a word to anyone about what went on, because there was a reputation to uphold and a family name to protect. And there were always threats about the consequences of leaving. Even when you escaped the noise to play with your Barbie dolls, you would make sure there was the one who was two people – a loving, kind soul by day and a vile, drunken fool at night.

You wanted things to be right. You heard the same thing over and over again. “I’d be gone in a heartbeat if I could. I’m staying in this marriage for you…”

You wanted the pain to go away, and those words told you who the pain was.

No 4-year old should ever want to die.

No 5-year old should ever believe abuse is normal.

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But even then, love was finding you. It invited you in to the quiet quilt-covered sweetness of a World War 2 row house in a different part of town, where you would stay for days if you could. You craved the comfort you found sitting on a step-stool in the tiny galley kitchen as your Aunt Prudence made vanilla cream pie and sweet tea, and you just knew Jesus was going to stop by for a visit because she spoke of Him with such tender familiarity that He had to be real. You would sit on the sun porch and listen to the budgies and finches sing, run in the backyard and wish you could reach the sunflowers that towered over the picket fence.

Yes, little Love. Even then, love was protecting you. Saving you.

It sang to you then. Remember? “I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck…”

I sing that song now to my grandkids. I sang it to my son. All because love sang it to you.

Oh little Love, there’s still so much of you alive in me now. The little girl with a gypsy heart who dreamt about other lands and created storylines with Chatty Kathy and troll dolls. The little girl who wished she could fall inside the Candy Land game and fall up into the sky to dance on clouds. The little girl who was relentless with “why” because there was always something more to everything. The little girl who just knew Jesus would come and visit if you fixed something sweet to eat.

The little girl who wanted things to be right. The little girl who wanted the pain to go away.

Yes, little Love. I carry your scars too. But we’re learning to be beautiful because we’re learning what beauty is. We’re learning to breathe and embrace. We’re learning to really walk with feet that are maybe too big and often a little clumsy. We are learning more and more to love those scars, to let them show as a reminder that we are more than the wounds that caused them. Little by little, we are ruins made whole.

Love saved you. Love saved us. And it is still saving. And it will keep saving.

You are precious, little Love.  We are precious. Let’s not ever forget that.

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.” ~Frederick Buechner


{postscript} Love is still saving, two years later. I’m bolder with my story now, bolder with advocating for other women who have stories like mine. I’ve walked the road from shame to unshame, and the road continues. I have met so many strong warrior women who believe restoration is a reality. I am writing about so many of them now for the Building Eden project.  And I am now unafraid to stand in their midst. Because of the impeccable love of my God, I am worthy of celebration too. 

This post came as the encouragement of women who believe in the power of story. It celebrates The Girl I Once Was. I’m thankful they said, “be unafraid to write.” What would your love letter to you say? Please write, little love. Please, be unafraid. 

This entry was posted in Community, Faith, family, Musings and Thoughts and tagged , , , , , by Ronne Rock. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ronne Rock

Ronne Rock’s heart finds its strongest beat where beauty and pain collide – because hope always finds us in the shattered places. There’s more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience in her bones, and she finds great joy in sharing leadership wisdom as a regular contributor to Orange Leaders and QARA. But more often than not these days, she's with the vulnerable in difficult places around the world, gathering stories that change stories. Find Ronne's words in "For You, Love" the prayer journal that invites you to respond, and in Everbloom, a collection of stories from the Redbud Writers Guild. She is currently writing, "Building Eden: Principles of a Grace-Filled Leadership that Restores and Redeems." 

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9 thoughts on “Hey Little Love.”

  1. It is wonderful to see how you were able to focus on the love and solace given to you by your Aunt Prudence in the midst of the despair that is associated with dealing with a parent with a substance abuse problem. No one should have to endure that type of pain – especially a child. I don’t know if your Aunt is still with you in the flesh, but if not, her soul surely is smiling after that beautiful tribute.

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