When People are Hard to Love

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13 days ago Florida got cold. On the first chilly night, my daughter brought her 2 bunnies from the outside hutch into our home for protection from the weather. She created a makeshift cage in her bathroom.

When we checked on them the next morning, Peyton Manning was sprawled in a corner totally relaxed, while the other bunny was frantic. She was hopping circles around the bathroom completely out of control.

As I put this crazy bunny back into her outdoor hutch, I immediately understood her unsettledness. Just before we had brought her inside, she had given birth to a litter of bunnies. These babies had been cold and alone all night hidden underneath a nest of mama’s freshly plucked white fur. Her erratic behavior was simply her determination to get back to her kits.Bunny nest

She had no desire to be held or removed from the hutch. In fact, mama bunny just wanted to be left alone.When people are hard to love

Baby Bunnies

First Hops

We rigged a landscaping spotlight to add warmth to the bottom of the hutch…which worked great until last night when the hutch caught on fire.

The section where the babies had nested was a pile of ashes. The wooden floor was gone. A portion of the hutch with a chicken-wired floor remained intact, and on it were 4 displaced babies and a freaked out mama.When people are hard to love

I spent this morning in the warmth of my kitchen checking each of the babies. Their fur smelled of smoke, an odor certain to linger for days to come. When I picked up the usually frigid mama to check her sizzled fur for deeper burns, she hid in the nook of my arm. For the first time since we got her, she fell asleep against my chest. She was exhausted from her night and embraced the security of my arms. Mama bunny finally wanted my comfort.

I spent an hour with her like this grateful I had tried one more time to comfort her. In this moment, I understood it is the same with us.

There are people in our life who are hard to love. They emotionally shut us out or push us away with harsh words because it feels easier to tackle the fires of their life alone. We think it is about us and so we retreat, but it is so often not.

They put up a hardened exterior to protect themselves. It might come across as abrasive or feel like personal rejection.

This is NOT an easy relationship… so we focus our gaze elsewhere.

I am not getting what I need from this person… and so we leave.

Have we conditioned ourselves to be drawn only to the easily lovable people in our life? The ones that are both fun to be around and authentic with where they are at? We need those relationships to refresh our souls but it can’t stop there.

I have been in that place of despair where friendships have struggled because I had nothing to give. What sustained me were those few people that continued to show up. They were loyal in my brokenness. They loved me despite my ugliness. They wanted nothing from me.

I didn’t share my struggles…or my sadness…or my pain because, at that time, I didn’t know how. I was just trying to get through lunch.

As the fires of that season in my life went out, my perspective on people changed. I understood brokenness needs to be met with compassion, and ugliness with love.When people are hard to love

I knew I wanted to embrace others exactly where they were at…requiring nothing in return because that is the gift I had been given…God’s relentless love extended to me through people.

People who are hurting feel your love even if they don’t accept it right away. If they snap, seem insensitive, or miss your birthday, show a little grace. Keep showing up. Keep loving them. Be drawn to their hidden vulnerability because we absolutely need each other. The fires of life were not meant to be fought alone.

♥ Allison

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34 thoughts on “When People are Hard to Love

  1. Your words speak directly to my soul. I’ve been both the hard to love and the one struggling to love in difficult circumstances. Despite outward behavior, I think we all want to be seen just as we are and loved fiercely in spite of our difficult side, our needy side, our less than beautiful side. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to go beyond ourselves💗

  2. My step son moved out last week after once again blaming me for everything that’s wrong with him. It’s been happening for 10 years. I’m heartbroken by his attitude and actions and so are my 5&7 year olds. This is a really good timely reminder not to give up. Thank you for saying this.

    • Your heart is sad because you care about him Lissie. Definitely don’t give up. Sounds like he has some things he wants to change in his life. I’m happy this encouraged you to hang in there and meet him with love during these hard times.

  3. Ally, you are such a gift to all of us. A wise old soul who is full of caring, wisdom, Love and sharing. Thanking God for you, Lovely Girl💖

  4. Allison, I came across your blog by accident many months ago. Though I do consider myself faithful, I don’t go to a church, and I don’t really have religion. This being said, I want to reach out to let you know your posts resonate and are so appreciated. The post about your bunnies arrived in my inbox days after I turned away from my father. I realized that after every visit with my parents, I’d return to my home needing to heal the wounds my father inflicted. His attacks are now only verbal, but I’ve reached the point where I’m certain he will never stop trying to break me. I will take your message to heart and save my strength and love for those who value me. The end of my story is not quite the same as that with your bunnies, but your words have helped me see my truth, and focus on safer and happier relationships.

    Thank you and all the best to you, your family and the bunnies! 😊

    • First of all Misha, I am so happy you stumbled across our small space on the internet. It is a delight to me when a reader shares their reaction to a post, and a privilege when they give me a peak into their own life. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry that you have a strained relationship with your father. I absolutely believe there are some relationships, particularly with verbal and physical abuse, when distance is necessary for one’s protection and healing. Sometimes it is for a short season, and other times longer. I imagine that was difficult for you and hope you have people in your life you can talk to to begin to repair those wounds. It is wonderful to meet you. Feel free to email me any time.

  5. Beautiful! I think we also tend to push unlovable people away in our effort to prove how right we are and how wrong they are. Thank you for sharing this today!

  6. Alli, you are wise beyond your years. I love your messages and you! Dear Father, thank you for the gift of the Stadler and Hendrix families.

  7. I had a really difficult childhood which created that hardened exterior you mentioned. I grew up keeping people away because i was scared letting them in would hurt me. I feared rejection because it was all I ever knew.

    I lived emotionally isolated through high school and most of college. A few people reached out but after my snide comments, they gave up. I don’t know why I would make those comments. I wanted so badly to be known but didn’t trust. Like you said, I pushed them away. I am just able to articulate that after reading this.

    Then there was this neighbor who kept knocking on my door. She loved me exactly like you said. I kept thinking she wanted something from me but time showed she didn’t. Her love softened me. I didn’t got to church or have any place for God. I knew she did and kept expecting her to try to convert me. She didn’t. She just loved me.

    After months, I finally asked her WHY she loved me like she does. In fact I begged her to tell me. That is when I understood for the first time her love was an overflow of the love she received from Jesus. She knew it was God’s job to change my heart, and her job was to show me what He looks like. She did that with the exact thing I needed most, unconditional love. Her love brought me to salvation. Thank you for reminding people to love people like me. It changed my life.

  8. I’m no religious man but if I was loved like you said and it is because of somebody’s real faith, I might rethink the God thing. But my experience says people are too selfish to love like that. They doing other stuff.

  9. You have beautifully expressed truths about people. Love isn’t real until it is unconditional. Unconditional love is healing.

  10. heart toutching as always you write. i share your stories in my english classroom as we read it and talk about. thank you. -ps. i can not find the one about that french model like almost co-student to be of your husband , i thought it was hilarious!!! could you send me a link. and….i am not being ignorant of capitals etc, just have my cat sleeping over of one of my hands at the moment…thank you

  11. When I read this, I started crying.

    Much like Laurie, I had a difficult childhood, and then my mother passed away unexpectedly when I was 15. It was right around that time that I shut down my emotions, and shut myself off from people.

    Because of my rocky relationship with my father, and having no siblings, that time in my life more or less started my descent into the need to deal with things on my own. To keep it bottled up inside, and not share my hurt/pain/upset with anyone else. Ever.

    I’ve also learned that I expect too much from people. There are few who will dig deep enough, or try hard enough, to figure out why someone is pulling away. Even the ones you consider your best of friends (and honestly, I don’t have many friends overall), aren’t going to bother. They’ll just keep their distance until you’re over your stuff.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Btw, I do have a great husband. A man who took the time to dig beneath the surface, and really understand what I had been through, and why I was the way I was.

      Our experiences define who we are, and who we become. It takes a strong person to look beyond our issues and love us anyway.

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