Me Before You

I was fourteen and had my first regular job. My neighbor, expecting twins, paid me that summer to give her a hand with her three toddlers and help with the housework. As soon as I ran home clutching my first week’s cash, my mother reached for the Sears catalog. “See how pretty this is,” she said, opening to an earmarked page. “It would be nice for Gail in the winter.”

My stomach felt sick as I looked at the pretty black-and-white wool coat with matching leggings and hat, realizing what my mother was really saying. She expected me to buy the outfit for my three-year-old sister. Again I had to prove I was not selfish. That time, however, I put up a timid objection.

“You’re supposed to help the family,” my mother replied. Knowing that because of my father’s alcohol abuse, she could not depend on him, I handed her the money she needed and bought my first can of hair spray with the remainder.

As surely as night turns to day, I had been taught over and over I should put everyone before myself. It was drilled in me at church too: God first, others second, yourself last. They were all wrong! God first, yes. But the adults in my childhood had reversed the other two tenets.

When Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matthew 22:39 NIV), He repeated verbatim words from Leviticus 19:18. A few years ago I finally understood what both the Old and New Testaments were saying. I could not love the one next to me until I loved myself. I could not know how to love someone else until I knew how to love me. To become unselfish I must first be kind to myself and give to me.


8 thoughts on “Me Before You

  1. Such an insightful posting. My heart breaks for the little girl in these postings. Life shouldn’t have been that way for her. Makes some of us realize just how truly blessed we were not to have to go through these experiences. Thank you for sharing dear friend. So wish I could undo the hardships that some I know and love experienced.


  2. Judy, Excellent. Betsy gave me my book yesterday (thank you for the inscription). I began reading at 7:30pm and finished today at 2pm. I did go to bed and to church, I am a fast reader. My thoughts ranged from what a talented author you are to thanksgiving that you were able to love on your father and receive his love. The elder abuse frightened me because Bob’s dad was in a nursing home for 5 years before he died. I wondered if we missed anything. I will trust God for that. I pray your book will help others, for I am sure there are more. God Bless.


    • Lorraine, another person told me she had read the book in eighteen hours “with a little sleep.” So congratulations to you! Thank you for your prayer that this book will help others; it is mine too.


  3. Dear Mrs. Simon, I wholeheartedly agree with taking care of/loving ourselves first before we can take care of others. Good Lord has lavishly loved us and it is the main source of our love to share with others 😉 KEEP WRITING! Love, Stella


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