I’ve been thinking of Rusty more frequently lately. I had so few conversations with him in our brief time as neighbors at the humane society, but in terms of philosophical impact less was most definitely more for our relationship.
I remember being especially puzzled when he responded to my passionate delivery of my life story with a single line. I had poured my heart out to him about my mom and my brothers, and how we got separated and my time on the streets and my time with the man with the leather belt, and all he said in response was “we get the love we think we deserve.” I later discovered he borrowed the line from Stephen Chbosky’s “Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
I was irritated at the time. I remember thinking how that was kind of a rude way to respond to a vulnerable situation. I had shared some pretty intense stories and all he had to say in response was a measly one-liner. So you can imagine my surprise when my thoughts returned to that moment today.
It was a pretty normal moment and yet today the moment brought my thoughts to Rusty. Mom got home from work and dad immediately swept me up off kitchen floor and mom and dad both spent a good five minutes squeezing me and petting me and loving me. It was fabulous. And then it happened. It was like Rusty was there in the room with us, winking a wise little wink at me.
“We get the love we think we deserve,” I heard him say like it was yesterday. It’s amazing the integral role time plays in understanding life’s lessons. It’s an intense thought to be sure, putting the responsibility for happiness into the hands of our own occasionally fragile hearts. It holds us accountable, keeps us honest, and spits in the face of low self-esteem. I often wonder why it is so much easier to listen to our hearts in matters of others while simultaneously ignoring what our heart has to say about ourselves.
Less is not more in matters of the heart. Take time today to listen to the positive things your heart has to say about you. Do you hear it? You deserve to be loved at least as much as you love others. Remember that.