I Am Loved…

Author, Ann Marie Collins
Author, Ann Marie Collins

This is me.

The woman who moved from Jamaica to northern California and, despite having a post-graduate education, struggled for months to figure out how the deer around Lake Chabot knew that they should cross the street at the “Deer Crossing” signs.  Google did not exist sooooo…

Still, I am loved.

I was in my thirties before I learned that tattoos were not painted on with permanent ink, there were NEEDLES involved! Still no Google, and still no tattoo sooooo… that was one wasted trip to Haight and Ashbury.

Yet still, I am loved.

I blame my Jamaican-ness for the fact the movie-watching is an interactive experience, although I have learned to control myself at public theaters…well, mostly.  In Jamaica the best entertainment at the movie theater comes from the audience.  We encourage, warn, and give advice to the protagonists and verbally abuse the antagonists, while reminding each other out loud of similar experiences in our lives, real or imaginary, as the basis for the sound advice we are giving the actors!

Still, I am loved.

Who says, “Is that a dog?” at the beginning of Racing Stripes, knowing that the movie is about a ZEBRA?!  And who, when asked, “Mom, what kind of pizza do you want?” responds, “I’m going to make cake!”?  I cook gourmet meals, but burn the bread.  I am a giant among my more regular-sized friends; louder and more  Momma Hulk than  Momma bear.  I have failed so many times at so many things I could be a ‘Failure Consultant’…

Yet still, I am loved.

Early in life I learned the lie that love is conditional.  My grades, my behavior, my personality, my performance, were all tools of the trade if I was to earn/deserve expressions of love that ebbed and flowed, were given then taken away until I could ‘earn’ more.  I was 50 years old before I walked free from that prison of ‘measuring up’ and ‘living up to expectations’ for the last time.

Now every day I witness and embrace the perfect, unconditional, love God has for me reflected in my very own “village people”, each of us flawed, but faithful; steadfastly believing God and striving daily to actively live His truth.

They remind me of that truth, with gentleness and grace, leaving room for me to find repentance and restoration without shaming, or condemnation.  They are overwhelmingly kind to me and mine, in words and deeds, generously meeting spoken and unspoken needs with no strings attached, and no expectation of reciprocation.

When life becomes war in the trenches, I look around and there they are, shields of faith locked with mine, and warfare prayers on their lips, surrounding me if I become too weak to fight.  They share the joy of victories won, and the sorrow of (temporary) loss or defeat…read the back of the Book…Jesus wins forever!

Yes indeed, I am loved.

This Thanksgiving, I am celebrating the ‘God-reflectors’ in my life who are… just living the thing.




3 thoughts on “I Am Loved…

  1. Lisa A Wilsey

    You have done it again!!! Here I am, laughing out loud in my house. I’m glad no one is home! It makes me smile as so many of those events I was there looking at you to see if you were serious or joking! It is still funny that you were absolutely serious! Who yells at John Candy in Cool Runnings,”What happened to your neck?” Only you!! And you are very much loved!!! Who says in a car full of women, “How do the deer know to cross there?” Still makes me laugh!!!! Love you!!

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