A freelance reporter from the New York Times interviewed a woman named Jean in the late 1950’s. The reporter was aware of woman’s painful past, how she had endured a childhood of neglect and abuse and had been shuffled from one foster home to another. Her childhood led into adulthood in which she now continued the vicious cycle of neglect and abuse. One husband after another. One relationship after another. One pursuit after another. Each one affirming what she felt inside. She had little value. Little self-worth. Even if no one else could see it, she knew.
At the end of the interview the reporter asked her, “Did you ever feel loved by any of the foster families with whom you lived?” “Once,” she replied, “when I was about seven or eight. The woman I was living with was putting on makeup, and I was sitting on the counter watching her. She was in a happy mood for the moment, and for whatever reason, she reached over and patted my cheeks with her rouge…. For that moment, I felt loved.”
She would seek to duplicate that feeling for the rest of her life, never succeeding. So much so that even in a very public relationship with the president of the United States he would refuse to kiss her on the lips because of his “ethics.” Again affirming how little she was valued in this life. “Jean” or “Norman Jean” as she was known by her friends or “Marilyn Monroe” as she is known by the rest of the world, had tears in her eyes when she remembered the event where her foster mother had touched her cheek, the one single, solitary moment she felt loved.
Here’s what Gary Smalley in The Blessing writes: “The touch lasted only a few seconds, and it happened decades before. It was even done in a casual, playful way, not in any attempt to communicate great warmth or meaning. But as small an act as it was, it was like pouring buckets of love and security on the parched life of a little girl starved for affection.”
We are designed as such that we yearn for, we long for, love and affirmation. Ultimately, love and affirmation that are only fully found in our heavenly Father. In a God who so readily affirms who we are if we will but allow Him. Through the message of Jesus and the relationship that our Father grants to us in Christ we are affirmed as loved, as valued, as important, as cherished.
You will search your entire life for affirmation and meaning and purpose and blessing to no avail, until you find in all in relationship with God….
Glory to God!