“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 love getting gifts. Some of my favorite gifts to get are little things that don’t cost very much money but that I rarely buy for myself. A magazine on fashion or decorating, a bottle of new nail polish or a new Starbucks mug from their “You Are Here” series.
But to tell the truth, what I love almost as much as the gift itself is the way it’s packaged. I love things that are presented beautifully and lovingly. That can mean a simple piece of twine wrapped around a magazine or a cute little chalkboard tag attached to it. One of my favorite gifts I ever received was packaged in a brown paper sack, threaded at the top with some twine and tied into a tidy little bow. Inside was tea, a bag of fresh cherries & some chocolate. It was so simple and so thoughtful.
“Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things…”
A couple of weekends ago we traveled up north to our old stomping grounds of Hibbing, MN. As soon as we turned onto Hwy. 53 a receiving line of pine trees appeared and welcomed us, gently guiding us north toward our destination. If there is a stretch of road that holds more memories for my husband & I than this, I am unaware of it. The 30 plus mile stretch would tell stories of