More than 20 years have passed, but the quiet nights in which my parents read me fables have left more than a vivid memory in my imagination. They weren’t tapes, they weren’t cartoons, I was not alone with a computer that tried to attract my attention: with me there was someone who for love of me, spent his own time not just his own money. Easy to feel loved, as a child.
As adults, something changes. They are rare, and they are precious the persons that know how to let themselves be loved this way. You need to seek them, these bursts of humanity, in unthinkable places…and then one can still hear someone humble and stupefied exclaiming: “My TV is my friend that is across from me at meals.” Word of young men of the Cenacle community who, after having risked to destroy himself with drugs, have decided to embrace life and enter with courage into relationships. And they won!
As adults something changes. Remember that story heard as children? Remember Rapunzel, a beautiful girl imprisoned in a tower with an old witch? Rapunzel is splendid and graced, but the witch tells her and repeats to her that she is ugly: a strategy of the mage to keep her from fleeing. The hour of her liberation comes the day in which Rapunzel is looking out the window of the tower. At the foot of the tower is her Prince Charming. She lets down her long blonde hair and the Prince uses it as a ladder to climb up and take her away. The real prison of Rapunzel, notes John Powell, was not the tower, but the fear of her ugliness that the witch had developed in her. Reflected in his eyes, Rapunzel sees her beauty and is finally free from her imaginary ugliness.
Towers and mages happily work against us. They invent cosmetics, and fashions, and models for us that are able to hide or cover up that inconvenient being that would like to come out of us, making us ashamed; that being that, in the end, is us. Like Rapunzel we harden ourselves for defense, and we close the windows so that, who knows when, someone could discover who we are and we may not please them, but we know we have nothing else to offer. And we remain Leibnitz’s monads, without doors or windows. And still we, like Rapunzel, are searching for two eyes that can be our mirror. We can cautiously open the window and discover being lovable.
We try to speak about the weather, or other things. Then we hazard to express some idea or judgment, but still it’s not a deep knowledge, because there will be 10,000 that have my political ideas or my same taste in music. The revolution happens when we open our windows until our feelings trickle out. When we feel free to communicate our emotions that we judge shameful, then we will truly feel loved. Emotions are born in us without asking our permission. We are not guilty of feeling. We can express them without sharing them: the important thing is to not give in. For this, if we have found a person in whom we can confide our feelings, we won’t fear to lose his friendship saying: “I love you, but your success makes me jealous,” or “I know that I make myself angry, and not you. Help me by changing this little thing,” or “It’s not your fault, but because of my past, your words wound me.
Exposing our emotions is very advantageous: We let ourselves be known, and we don’t accumulate bitterness that then sharply explode. We know that we can be loveable even admitting that Jack was mean to us or that kissing a leper tires us. Prince Charming will know us and tell us: “You’re great!” and also: “Forget about your ambitious father and pick the job you were made for.” And when we have shown Him all our fragility, perhaps we will not be admired, but we will be loved! Even Jesus, exhausted and suffering, didn’t hide himself, but let himself be loved by Veronca, Simon of Cyrene, he let himself be seen in that condition by his Mom, who was able to tell him: “I’m here.” Whoever saw the film The Passion can retrace those relationships that Jesus wanted (and savored) opening the window in his humiliation.
I feel virtuous, recounts Massimo, ex-toxic-dependent in Sr. Elvira’s community, because I withstood everything in silence, without ever saying that the loud radio, the disorder, and the workload for the computer unloaded on me every evening made me nervous. I thought of being virtuous, but I eroded my insides and I began to harbor insufference, almost hatred, towards whoever was around me, unaware of the anger that took hold of me. My face was always gloomy. They would ask me: Everything ok? I let it all out. Everything was resolved. I felt loved. It was enough just to let myself be known.
TRUE OR FALSE?
*Prince Charming tells us only our positive side. T F
*The gaze of the Prince that uncovers the most profound truth about us, in reality sees the splendid speck of God that dwells in us. T F
*We are hypocrites if we do a favor for a person who is mean to us. T F