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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Yost

When You Don't Want To Love

I have a cousin who's been battling breast cancer. She's the kind of person who is the life of the party. I'm jealous of how she can walk into a room and everyone seems to love her immediately. It's because she's disarming with her sweet voice that brings instant familiarity and comfort. It also helps that she's hysterical and beautiful.

She's been through several rounds of chemo which ravaged her body. She said to me, "A woman told me to cover my bald head because it made her child uncomfortable." I stopped what I was doing and said, "Wait...what? Like, she actually said that to your face? Like, seriously?" "Oh yeah. You don't know the half of it!"

Jesus help me but if that woman would have said that to my cousin in my presence, I may have pulled out some of her hair. You know, so she could understand real discomfort. One of the hardest hurdles for me to overcome is my struggle to love people who make it so hard to love them. You know who I'm talking about, the prickly folk. They are the ones who make your nostrils flare and your heart rate go up.

I like to avoid them. It's so much easier not to have to deal with them. And yet, it's through them that God teaches me how to love. The road to patience and unconditional love is paved with prickly people. I wish it were easier, like how I wish losing weight didn't come with all the diet and exercise. But fitness, both body and spirit comes from practice and a little pain. The pain makes us stronger and ensures that we can endure more than we thought. Each time we confront the people who need a little extra grace, we get better at it.

So, I'm trying to hug the porcupines in my life and remember that I once was (and still can be) quite spiny as well.

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