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this is what love looks like (part one)

this is what love looks like (part one)

I’ve been looking for answers lately. Big answers. Whole answers. Heavy answers. I’m no longer satisfied with a partial glimpse of the truth. I want the whole truth.  I’m dead serious. I want the real, hard truth. I want the hope filled, promise saturated truth. I want the slap in the face, bucket of cold water truth. I feel like I won’t survive if I don’t get answers, and I am actively seeking them out every single day. Here’s a truth that slapped me in the face this week: sometimes, you don’t get to know. Whaaaaaaat? Why not? If it’s true, why can’t I know? I want the truth. I need it. I have convinced myself that this is what holds me together when I feel like crumbling into teeny tiny bits of nothing-makes-sense.

Let me write that again: sometimes you don’t get to know. That, my friends, really is the truth. I’ve been reading a lot lately. Some self-help type of books, hope books, perspective books, love books… just a bunch of stuff to fill the day when I’ve emptied my DVR and the 482 cable channels offer nothing of interest. The common thread that I’ve seen throughout the week is that we really don’t get to know everything there is to know, no matter how bad we want to! There are some incredibly smart people in this world, and even they don’t get to know everything there is to know. There are still mysteries. There are still parts unknown (a shout out to one of my fave shows w/ Anthony Bourdain on CNN). There are still things to ponder, wonder about, think through, and attempt to unravel.

I guess that’s a good thing… for other people.  To be honest, I wish there was an exception that applied just to me. I’m all for the mysteries of the world, and the chance for other people to think things through… but for ME, can’t I just have a few answers??? I want to know. I don’t want to wonder. I’m driving myself crazy with the over thinking. My mind never stops. I’m devouring everything in my path, thinking and over thinking, and processing, and reworking. I’d just like to be ‘in the know’ for a little while and have a few answers all to myself. Do you ever feel like that? Can you relate? Are you picking up what I am throwing down?

So as I was stewing over this, and resenting the fact that I don’t get to know anything, ever (yes, I am acting like a bratty child), a tiny glimpse of ‘something’ started to emerge, slowly peeking out of the corners of my mind. A slow reveal, I think they call it in Hollywood. Sort of like how a flower blooms or grass grows or a caterpillar turns into a butterfly on one of those nature shows. Of course, the difference is they speed it up by a trillion percent so we don’t get bored and lose interest. Not the case in real life. There is no speeding up or fast forwarding. This idea, this truth, slowly and carefully made its way from the deepest, most hidden part of my mind and revealed itself in its own timing.

I tried to grab it, but it escaped my grasp. I tried to speed it up, coax it into the light, but the blinding glare of my focus only scared it away. I realized that it wouldn’t be rushed, and so I let it take its time, grow at its own pace, and reveal itself when it was good and ready. Truthfully, I think it was waiting for me to be good and ready. Funny how that works.

The tiny glimpse of something turned into a realization. A truth, just for me. A deep, emotional, spiritual, resounding truth carefully crafted into a picture for my mind’s eye only. I was searching for all truths, wanting to know what I was going to do with the rest of my life, wondering if I am on the right track with the aMasongrace project, hoping for some sign on how many years I will have to live with this agonizing grief in my heart. I was the bratty child, stomping her foot and shaking her fist at the world, saying how unfair everything is over and over and over, all the while expecting a real, solid truthful answer that I could hold onto… and here is what I got:

“This is what love looks like…”

Uh, come again?

“This is what love looks like…”

Um, I didn’t ask that. I want the truth. I want answers I can work with. I want to know what else this godforsaken universe is going to throw at me. Tell me that! I want the truth. And the answer came again. It was the answer to a different question. A question I wasn’t asking, and didn’t know how to articulate.

“This is what love looks like…”

This is the ‘truth’ I received this week. It wasn’t what I was looking for, or the answer I thought I needed. It certainly wasn’t the response I expected to all of my angry, impatient, demanding questions. Nope. This simple little truth was everything I needed to make it through the week, to survive myself, to embrace life again (if only a little). It’s been tugging at my subconscious, poking at my attention, and subtly fluttering at the edge of my focus for some time now. There was no rushing it… I thought I was waiting for it, but the truth is that it was waiting for me. It came when I was ready. A little gift for me that I want to share with you. A realization. An unveiling.

There are tons of quotes to describe love. There are Facebook posts, and Buddha quotes. Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare do a nice job defining love. Probably the most common reference to love is a bible verse that we’ve all heard, most likely at a wedding. Love is patient, love is kind. Yada, yada, yada. Many years ago, a guest speaker at a former church of mine, discussed this verse as it related to his own character development. It hit home then and still does… he put his own name in the place of Love to remind him of how he was supposed to behave in this life. I sometimes do the same for myself when I question my response to something, or feel uncomfortable with my attitude. The idea is to stop yourself when what you’re saying is no longer true. I usually get stuck on the first one. Here is what I mean… “Holly is patient, Holly is kind, she isn’t jealous, she doesn’t brag, she isn’t arrogant, she isn’t rude, she doesn’t seek her own advantage, she isn’t irritable, she doesn’t keep a record of complaints, she isn’t happy with injustice, but she is happy with the truth. Holly puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.”  Like I said, oftentimes I have to stop at ‘Holly is patient’ because I’m just not. I’m working on that.

It’s no coincidence that, in the wake of my son’s death, I am struggling to feel love. I am demanding the universe to reveal its most sacred truths. I’m in the throes of grief, sobbing one moment, angry the next, and grateful for life’s goodness in between. It seems fitting that the one thought presenting itself over & over is “This is what love looks like.” I cannot ignore it in favor of a different truth. I cannot keep saying I never get to know anything, ever. I have a precious little nugget in the palm of my hand, and feel privileged to share it with you.

 “This is what love looks like…”

 In future blog posts, I’ll be highlighting people and events that fit this theme. I want to show gratitude as I grieve and I want to focus on the answers and truths I have been given. I understand that sometimes we don’t get to know everything or have all of the answers, and I absolutely resent that, but I think I can do a better job of showing appreciation for the concrete truths in my life. I hope you can do the same.

Today, I’m positing ‘part one.’ Here is a picture of my friend, Taunia. She’s been a good friend over the years, dating back to when Mason was still in diapers. She’s flawed. She’s bossy. She’s scary when she’s angry. She’s also generous, fun, silly, and a little scattered. For the first few weeks after Mason’s death, Taunia never left my side. She answered phone calls, handled the texts, coordinated dinners, and organized visitors.  She made me drink water, reminded me to brush my teeth, told me when it was time to take a shower, and took notes on things I wanted to remember. She cried with me. She comforted me. She strengthened and encouraged me. She left her own family to become mine. She dropped every single thing in her own life to handle mine. She put aside her own pain to come alongside me and share mine. Here is a little secret about Taunia: she hates naps and resents people who nap. She is just too busy to stop and nap. She doesn’t know this, but I caught her napping once.

In my life, this is what love looks like…

phone dump 6-7-13 001

  • Sarah
    Posted at 17:11h, 07 October Reply

    Brilliant! Beautiful!!! Taunia is gonna be sooo pissed you caught her napping!! I love the part about the timelapse – such a fantastic analogy of the whole picture being revealed slowly… Honestly, I dont think we are wired to grasp the whole truth. Just knowing we are a tiny, miniscule part of the divine design actually brings me relief. You are right, we are not born to know, just born to love. Love you, love Taunia. Thank you for everything you are both teaching me.

    • its just me
      Posted at 22:25h, 07 October Reply

      reminds me of glennon’s recent post about the tree of knowledge, and how it’s just not good for us to know everything. sigh. meeting her tonight. wish you were here.

  • Lisa
    Posted at 17:13h, 07 October Reply

    OMG! Taunia napping!!?? No way! 🙂

  • Kris Morris Devitte
    Posted at 19:20h, 07 October Reply

    I know and love Taunia too, she is a wonderful, beautiful person. You are lucky (as am I) to have her in your life. I am surprised you were able to catch her napping, but what a great picture.

  • Daisy Rain Martin
    Posted at 02:28h, 09 October Reply

    I’ve often said that I don’t give a flip-flyin’ you-know-what about mansions, streets of gold, and eternal whatever when I get to Heaven–I want answers. So there’s that. Then there’s this:

    “I want to show gratitude as I grieve…”


    Wow. Go figure… If people aren’t reading this blog, they’re nuts.

    • its just me
      Posted at 19:33h, 15 October Reply

      thanks, daisy. you make me laugh as you encourage me. that’s a gift.

  • Stacey
    Posted at 20:15h, 10 October Reply

    There is no question about it, YOU ARE A BRILLIANT WRITER! You are blessed with such wonderful friends….because YOU ARE A WONDERFUL FRIEND! I can relate about wanting answers and wanting them now. Eventually, they do come. Stay strong and keep writing! <3

    • its just me
      Posted at 19:32h, 15 October Reply

      thanks, stacey-gurrrrrl. i appreciate you so much. hope you know that.

  • Stacey
    Posted at 16:39h, 11 October Reply

    There are those people that touch your life in such a way that u become molded into the family God lets u choose on earth. Good choice Holly:)
    Listen to “held” by Natalie grant

    • its just me
      Posted at 19:31h, 15 October Reply

      thank you for the song recommendation, stacey. will listen today. xo

  • nancy geissler
    Posted at 23:55h, 14 October Reply

    Taunia, you are a great example, Taunia’s are really rare these days unfortunately, it’s just a normal human being thing to do, that few do sadly..what a blessing to you both and us….so happy I saw this, thank you so much for putting some belief back in the human race for me….another mom whose daughter is in heaven, and whose birthday is on the 16th… forever joy…God Bless You All…hugs

    • its just me
      Posted at 19:30h, 15 October Reply

      nancy, i will be thinking of you and your daughter on the 16th. xoxox

  • Michelle
    Posted at 15:28h, 07 October Reply

    Tears & coffee….Sometimes in the middle of an ordinary day, when times are tough…the tears won’t stop & you’re searching for answers- you get a wake up call & find Holly. YOU are what love looks like. I adore that beautiful friend of yours…Taunia, & am thankful I stumbled upon her. Our first meeting wasn’t picture perfect..but our second sealed the deal…pretty sure we adore each other. It’s because of her, that I found you…& because of you….today, the answers really don’t matter. ❤️

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