“All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”
The lyrics to the Beatles’ famous song play like a soundtrack in my mind. A classic. It’s a catchy feel good song. Each beat like an anthem declaring itself to my heart.
Everywhere I turn lately, it’s all I hear. Love is the answer to everything. We are love warriors and we have hashtags stating #loveisloveislove, Madonna even chanting it at the end of her speech at a recent women’s march. “We choose LOVE! We choose Love! We choose Love!!!!” She screams this into the very same microphone that only moments before amplified her thoughts of blowing up the White House.
And I wonder….Is this really all we need? Is this the love we need? If we just chant the word enough, or if we scream it loudly from a microphone, or maybe if we hashtag it to death, will something change then? Will the word love be enough to heal our our broken hearts? our communities? our country?
It seems as though love has taken on a loftiness about it as of late. Tenuous in nature, it is sweeping across our nation making unsubstantiated claims. It has become an abstract, vaporous idea that invites people to adhere their own personal definitions to it. Suddenly, love can be whatever you’d like it to be. And while this idea presents itself as being inclusive and freeing, I believe it does us a disservice. How can we all claim that love is the answer when our definition of love is so vastly different from one another?
It’s been eight years to the day that my father-in-law passed away. And the old cliche, “time heals all wounds” this many years out, seems both true and an awful lie all at once.
The sharp pang of loss, the kind that took our breath away for days, weeks, and even months after isn’t our daily companion anymore. We have whole blocks of time where we don’t even think of him. But it’s never truly gone either. It’s in hiding now, jumping out and scaring us at will. The realness of it sometimes settling in on us again like it did the very first time. Because there will never be another ANYTHING with him.
Maybe you feel it too?
A heaviness from life’s struggles and unmet expectations covers me like a weighted blanket. Residue from hurt and pain over the past year lingers and makes a case for me to climb up under the covers and never come out. I’m tired. And maybe a little sad. And admitting it only seems to add shame to the mix.
But I also have joy. Not a warm, fuzzy, happy feeling dripping with sentiment, but a settled assurance, a quiet confidence and a determined choice.
I don’t know if you’re anything like me but sometimes I can get really down on myself about my parenting skills (or lack thereof.) I’m constantly worried that I’m not saying the right words, at the right time, with the right balance between love & discipline. It’s enough to drive a person crazy!
This last week the flu hit me hard and nailed me down to the couch the better part of the week. It just so happens that it was the same week my husband was scheduled to be out of town for a conference and I was feeling uber mama guilt for being sick. As if I really had any choice in the matter. It’s not like I raised my hand and volunteered. “Pick me! Please pick me to be sick!” But I felt guilty anyways. You get it, I know you do.
“It’s just a box. A plain old box.”
The words that ran around in my head all morning upon the realization that my daughter was taking an undecorated shoe box to school for her Valentine’s container.
I tried my best to shove all the crazy down. You know, the crazy that makes you start asking yourself all kinds of questions. Questions like: Will people think I’m a deadbeat mom because of this? Will other kids laugh at her because it’s not decorated? And then of course on the heels of guilt for me is always lots of excuses.