Blog 2178 – 10.03.2021
Loving Yourself First
Second only in influence in my boyhood to my beloved and now twenty-one years departed mother, Alene Florence Davidson White, was actress Lucille Ball, widely known from October 15, 1951 through May 6, 1957 (the six years the show was first broadcast on CBS, and for all these years since in syndication around the world) as Lucille Esmeralda “Lucy” McGillicuddy Ricardo. I grew up loving Lucy as has many living in the world today have. The beloved red-head’s black and white thirty minute antics and adventures (only a few have been colorized since the first, a Christmas episode, was rebroadcasted sixty-two years later in 2013) have colored our world with three familiar words.
I like Lucy’s quote in pink above and agree that if you want everything in your life to fall in line you must first love yourself. How can we expect or believe that anyone else could or does love us if we do not love ourself first?
The hard sale of many guilt religions is that even though we are a mess and completely undeserving of love (not true), God loves us so much that he was willing to die for us or at least to volunteer our older brother to die in our place. And that we are to love God first, others second, and lastly ourselves. The rocky shores of religious history are cluttered with shipwreck souls who tried that formula and failed miserably. The reason, I think, is because it is “bass-act-wards.” Say that word six time fast and it will probably come out in the correct order.
The proper order of love is always the same “love first and find the reasons later” and as Lucy says so succinctly loving ourselves first sets everything straight and us on the right course. How can we love God, or others, anyone, if we do not first love ourselves?
I shared yesterday what my mama said to my dad when he first proposed marriage to her, “I hardly know you, why would you want to marry me?” And that he replied, “Because you look like you need someone and I want to have a home.” The part that I left out was that my mom was at the time pregnant with twins, eighteen years young if that, unwed and that she and her sister Katherine were both working as Dime Store clerks, and living with various aunts till they wore out their welcome because together they could not afford a place of their own. Mom refused dad’s first proposal and she and Katherine saved enough of their meager pay to buy bus tickets to Detroit where they stayed till the babies were born with her dad and his new family in an apartment building he managed there. The the twin boy babies only lived a few hours, so I never got to know my older brothers just my sweet eighteen month younger brother, Robert Wayne.
But I get ahead of myself, Alene and Katherine, moved back to Chattanooga because their dad’s apartment was too full already with a wife and three half brothers, and one half sister. Mom never thought of them as halves but wholes as do I. So she and her oldest sister got their Dime Store jobs back and started the aunt circuit again and had just about worn out their welcomes again when she decided to lookup my dad again and see if his offer still stood. He was not hard to find and it did. So she asked him, “Do you still want to marry me?” And he said, “Yes, I do.”
I think my mama knew that my daddy loved her and she added, “Katherine comes took.” And dad said, “That will be fine.” My aunt Katherine never lived farther than walking distance from us. Aunt Katherine was I think my mother’s best friend. Her next best friend was her middle sister Lucy (Davidson Talent Millard, not Ball or Ricardo.) Mom suffered greatly when they both died, first Aunt Lucy, then years later Aunt Katherine. But not nearly as much as when her true best friend, my dad died, three years before she took her own life.
I think my mom’s biggest problem in life was the same most of us suffer with as well. One of my favorite authors, Louise Hay, used to say and to write, “Most all our problems stem from not loving ourselves first or enough.” The great singer Whitney Houston as evidenced by her life struggles and untimely death had self love problems too, but recorded a wonderful song called, The Greatest Love Of All.” She sang it far better than I can, but I have learned the song’s lesson better than she or my sweet mama did. To quote the song, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”
Give my cover of her song a try, but more importantly give loving yourself first a try. A very smart and successful lady in this life said it was always the smart move. And we still love you, Lucy.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
The Greatest Love Of All