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What’s Holding You Back?

Is something holding you back from loving with all your heart, and if so, what are you afraid of?

I know, the dudes reading this are thinking, “Wow, really, man? Writing a blog about LOVE? About opening your heart?”

What I’m really talking about is having an abundant life full of love and laughter. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.”

Since telling stories is what I love to do the most in this life, allow me to give you access to a conversation between my wife and I, from nearly 30 years ago, that, up to now, nobody else but her and I were privy to.

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I knew I was a bit lazy when it came to working, and wasn’t the easiest bear in the forest to get along with, so naturally I was a bit skittish when she said, “We need to talk.”


“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” she said, softly, not hatefully. “I try to love you, to make you laugh, to spend time with you, but you just don’t respond. I mean, you’re not an ogre or anything, but I just feel like when you’re here you’re not here, ya know? Like you’re holding back. I don’t know, does any of this make sense?”

I just sorta laughed and said, “Not really. I’m here and I love you. Everything’s cool.”

The conversation was soon ended, and I could tell she was upset, but I wasn’t about to open up my Pandora’s Box of emotions. “There’s too much darkness in there,” I wanted to tell her. “Too many ghosts, skeletons, demons, whatever you prefer to call them, hiding in the shadows of that dungeon. No, no, we can’t go in there.”

It gnawed at me for several days, however, and a couple weeks later I grabbed Laura’s hand and said, “Ok, you asked for it, you got it. I’m gonna tell you what’s up with me.”

She sat down, a tender look of concern in her eyes, and clasped my hands. Tears began to roll down my cheeks, as she said, “Oh, baby, it’s ok!” and held me for a few minutes.

Yeah, call me a “sap,” I don’t care. I’m a loving person, and my wife was, is and always will be everything to me. I had to do this. I couldn’t lose my greatest love.

“I’m afraid that, if I open up my heart,” I began, “if I give you all of me, it will completely, utterly destroy me if, God forbid, something happens to you. I’m terrified to give you everything, emotionally, mentally, whatever. If I attack this thing with all my soul, and it doesn’t work, I’ll just be a puddle of mud on the ground. I’ll be spineless and worthless, nothing left of me but a greasy spot on the floor.”

I paused, waiting for her to react, and then said, “Yeah, I know, it’s stupid.”

She once again held me for a long time, before speaking.

“Thank you for finally being honest with me. I understand how you feel. Don’t you think I’m afraid, too? But babe, you have to open your heart and let me in. What kind of life are we going to have if you only give me part of you? Wouldn’t it be better to love me, and someday, our kids, with all of your heart? What if you do lose me? You’d probably be eaten up with guilt because you know you could’ve had an amazing life, but you were scared and held back.”

I was staring at the ground, and she pulled my face to hers and gave me a gentle kiss.

“Let me in,” she smiled.

It wasn’t easy, and I still slip into “hiding mode” at times, but I do my best. I’ve had an amazing life thus far with my wife, my daughter, my son, my son-in-law, my grandson, and soon (in November!), my granddaughter.

Life is a beautiful, amazing, breath-taking adventure, and I’m all in.

It’s so difficult for me to be this vulnerable, but I pray it has spoken to someone. If you’re holding back, whether it’s with your parents, your children, your grandchildren, your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife, whoever, you owe it to yourself and them to give it your all. You only live once, so live it to the hilt. 

C’mon, jump in the deep end. What are you afraid of?

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

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