I just wanted to say hello and let you all know that these past two days have been filled with love for my husband and I. We are blessed beyond measure to have such a large and extended family that embraces us in our brokenness. As we age, we are ever grateful for the grace with which we are received by those who care about us. Life is not meant to be lived alone, we are a communal species by nature, so every once in a while we reach out to those we love to share stories, hugs and even shed some tears. These past 36 hours have been such a time for us and we made some beautiful memories.
I often find myself up in my own head wondering what to write about and love was and is the overwhelming answer to those musings today. Love comes in so many forms, is shown in so many ways and is often times taken for granted. I love my husband, even though I admit there are times when I don’t like him. We have such a vast history together and there have been times where one or both of us has failed to nurture and protect our love. We have survived the loss of a child, not to death, but by her choice, and we are not just surviving, we are happy. Don’t misunderstand… We are not happy because we lost her, we are happy because we decide to be. Like love, happiness is a decision, and it’s a decision we have to make every day. We decide to love each other through the pain and anguish brought to us by someone else’s hand. There are many days I want to curl up in a corner of the couch and cry my eyes out, but it doesn’t begin to change the fact that we are still without our daughter, our son-in-love and our grand-kids. Of course there are days that the pain is so great that we say things to one another we don’t mean, but have to express, because keeping all that pain inside is like drinking poison. And who knowingly does that?
I have learned through this estrangement what it truly mean to love myself, and that I matter. We all do. All people matter, but not all people believe in themselves. I do believe in myself and learn how to keep believing every day that I wake up and choose to smile, be kind and forgive. Love without forgiveness is hollow, at least to me, but forgiving doesn’t mean you open yourself up to being treated with cruelty. I can’t make someone treat me with kindness, but I am the one that makes the decision as to how I react to being treated at any given time. I try hard to remember that manners matter, and being kind is a manner that matters a great deal to me.
Love has the power to heal our broken hearts, but the healing may make the heart feel differently than it did before being shattered. My heart will continue to heal as long as I show myself grace and have patience. Time is a great healer, even as cliche as that sounds, so patience is a must. Love is both patient and kind, and those are two virtues I want to continue to foster within myself every chance I get. I haven’t always been the most patient person, and I haven’t always been kind, but I am working on being better at both. Don’t let anyone mistake your kindnesses for weaknesses, it takes a great deal more strength to be a decent human being than people are willing to give us credit for. When you can love through and in spite of such tremendous pain, you know you are healing. Love wins every time and I know somewhere love will triumph over the anguish of estrangement.
Loving someone doesn’t mean you should let them hurt you, demean you or bully you. Love is perfect, we humans are not. Love is so many different things and can be shown in so many different ways, and it should be valued. Valued as a precious newborn baby, valued as a couple saying I do, valued as a wife caring for her husband in sickness and in health. Love is a parent wishing they could take their child’s cancer on as their own. Love is a mother wishing she could slay the demons of mental illness in her daughter. Love is a father agonizing over the loss of his child to an accident. Love is a friend holding your hair back when you get sick. Love is driving 500 miles round trip to a funeral for your friend’s granddaughter and weeping though you never met the deceased child. Love is dancing in the kitchen to your wedding song. Love is a new puppy. Love is so much more than any of us really understand, but we understand what it isn’t. Love isn’t being thrown out with the garbage like you don’t matter. Love isn’t unforgiving. Love isn’t cruel. Love isn’t lonely.
There is so much I want to share on the subject of what love is and has done for me through these past two years, and I will as time goes on. I pray that with each day we are given that we all give and receive love freely and without reservation. Love one another…