“Never apologize for caring or loving too much. People who receive it are lucky and people who make you regret it are jerks.”
Growing up in a Pastor’s home, I was expected to wear a dress, be ready to leave on time for Church, Weddings, Funerals and always be on my best behavior. I liked to tag along with my Father when he went to the hospital to visit people. They used to have age restrictions for visitors and most of the time, I stayed in the car or sat in the waiting room. I remember seeing my Father walk around the corner from the elevator area and going straight to the restroom to wash his hands before we left. The hospital soap had a certain smell to it. I always knew he had washed the “hospital germs” off his hands. Funny how we remember things like that.
I would listen to him talk about what was wrong medically with the people he visited. Then, he would usually say that he had prayer with them or with the family members before he left. Sometimes, they were people I knew from church and other times, it was a relative of someone we knew. I had a vivid imagination and since I was too young to go up the elevator with him, I imagined the whole scene in my head. I developed compassion for the sick and anyone who was going through something awful. As I got older, I was able to go visit people too. I would leave the hospital and feel extremely sad. I hated to see anyone suffering.
I began to have trouble sleeping after funerals. I had nightmares. I would be so sad on the inside and acceptance wasn’t something that came easy to me. You know how in the movies or soap operas, people keep coming back from the dead? Or they almost die and have a “miraculous recovery”? I would wait for those moments while watching movies and when the character didn’t come back, I was like “Nooo! They can’t be dead!!!” That started in real life for me. It was like I couldn’t accept the fact that the person was really gone. Realizing they were, that became too much for me. It felt like a hopeless pit I would fall in. Yes, they may be in a better place, but I wanted them here. I didn’t want them to go away.
I’ve watched my Father preach Funeral services and comfort those who mourn. I’ve never seen him come “unglued” while at a funeral. The only time I remember seeing him cry at a funeral was probably when my Grandmother (his mother) passed away. Other than that, I’ve always been amazed at how he composes himself. I’m confused as to why I can’t keep my composure like he does.
At my Grandmother’s viewing, I stopped about 7 feet or so before I reached her. I couldn’t move. I was frozen. Someone came up behind me, put their hand on my back and PUSHED me up to her casket. The light was shining on her from a skylight I think and I’ll never forget how she looked. I was terrified! I loved my Grandmother, I just wasn’t able to handle seeing her like that. I was only 13 years old and I can still remember the song that was playing on the radio during the drive to the graveyard. I hate when that song comes on the radio and to this day I can’t wear the perfume I was wearing that day.
If you are a person that cares “too much” and gets looked at like you’re unusual, if you are the one in your family who cries a little too much, if you think anything is possible, if you know no boundaries to love, if you refuse to believe there is no good left in a person, if you never give up on someone, if you would storm through Hell with a water pistol to save someone you love… you are not “strange”, you are not “too emotional” and you are definitely not alone.
I’m not like anyone in my family and that’s okay. Someone has to preach the funerals and not cry a river while visiting the members in the hospital. I did have the privilege of accompanying my Father to visit a member’s mother in the hospital last year before she passed away. Finally, I was able to go all the way up the elevator with him, I got to walk with him into the hospital room and I heard him say, “This is my daughter”. I’ll never forget that.
I love hard… I feel everything deeply… and I won’t ever apologize for it.
Amazed By His Grace,