The Burden of Being Loved

Being loved is an incredible gift, but it can also be a burden.  By this I mean that it can be hard to accept that love, unconditionally, honestly, wholly, in all of its beautiful glory.  Because accepting that love means accepting help when you are unable to help yourself.  And many feel that they are not worthy, or that they do not want to be a burden.  Let me tell you – you are not a burden to those who love you.

One of my close friends is very sick with triple cancer. She is weak, in pain and not feeling well at all.  And she is at the point where she needs help with things, like fixing meals and caring for her small child.  But this is so very hard for her because she is beautiful and independent and crafty and smart and has never had to depend on anyone.  She has always had to strength and will to do for herself.  But this is cancer, and cancer is hard. She does not want to be a burden to those who love her. She is being strong, doing what she can and accepting help when she needs it, but it is not easy.

It was very hard taking care of my father when he had cancer. But it was my honor and privilege to be there for him.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I would give anything to have another day with him, to hug him, help him, tell him that I love him.  He hated having to depend on me, he didn’t want to be a burden either.  But he never was.  I loved taking care of him and those days are some of the most cherished memories that I have with him.  Honestly, my siblings were the burden – they were too selfish, or busy, or scared, or just too disinterested, to help. But they still made demands and wanted consideration.  They were the burden, but never my Dad.

I served my father with Joy.  But it was not easy for him to let others help him either. And no one talks about how hard that is.  Everyone just says how lucky you are to have others help, and that is true.  But it also requires surrendering to the fact that you need help, and letting others love you enough to be there.

My Mom couldn’t do it.  She loved others deeply, but for some reason was unable to let anyone help her.  She needlessly suffered in silence.  She would not let anyone close enough to admit that she was scared, or depressed, or tired.  I loved her with all of my heart, and I desperately wanted to help her, but she wouldn’t let me or anyone else.  This drove a wedge between us and made communication difficult.  I felt helpless as I knew she was hurting but could do nothing but sit by and watch.

The ironic thing is that she is the one who taught me the importance of accepting love and help from others.  She said that you have to allow others the gift of helping you.  Because there are some people who are put on the earth to give, to serve, and to help.  If you do not allow them, then you are denying them their purpose.  There are people who need to give.  And in accepting their gifts we allow them to fulfill that need.

And that is the burden, the beautiful burden, of being loved.  And many times, it is the hardest lesson. Because it requires us to be vulnerable, and to be helpless and to give up our independence and face our own humanity and limitations. And that makes us uncomfortable. But love is a great and patient teacher.

I needed to give to my parents. I believe that was one of my purposes on this Earth. I needed to be there, taking care of them. Because that is the only gift I could give them that would even come close to repaying all that they had done for me.

So if you are in need, don’t worry about being a burden.  Love and loving is never burdensome.  Let those who need to give, give to you. Not because you need it so much, but because they do.