The stories that we tell ourselves are the filters through which we pass our significant emotional interactions and responses. I am just waking up to this. As I sit with painful emotions, learning from them, trying to understand why they are there- instead of running far away from the nakedness that they reveal- it slowly dawns on me that they are bound up with a legend and a rule of law that represents my earliest attempt to make sense of my broken world- a world where ‘love’ was an abstract rather than a concrete, living, organic experience. One of the rules laid down for me was “always give, but do not ever ask anything of others”. I do not blame anyone for my inability to receive, for it is not my place to judge. However, the vacuum into which I was continually pouring was like a black hole that sucked the very light out of my soul. The maxim ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ was played out in multiple situations over the years, leading to periods of complete burnout and isolation. The story is not working anymore, but I am having difficulty writing a new one. Thank God for dear friends who act as mirrors, reflecting not my poverty of spirit, but glory of the One whose love doesn’t fail. Perhaps if I can learn from them, I can become a better conduit to my family- and perhaps one day receive from them.