Category: Relationships

Silent Love Stories

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At church, an older couple shuffles down the aisle to their pew. He reaches out for her hand, which she willingly and eagerly accepts, and they proceed to their seats.

A young mother holds her baby close. She kisses a chin and each cheek and smells the back of the neck as she patiently and purposefully sways.

A college-aged couple passionately embraces in the middle of the bread aisle. Their hands linger and their kiss is long. They see no one.

After he died she sat next to his empty chair. Weak and weary, she held her post for 9 days. Then she returned to him for eternity.

These are silent love stories.

No words are exchanged. In fact, no words are necessary.

Often overlooked and undervalued, sincere gestures and intentional presence are at the center of silent love stories.

On a day where things might seem loud or need to be proclaimed, look for the silent stories. They’re everywhere. They tell us more than we imagine and give us everything to believe.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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What Marriage Needs

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I’ve been in love with my husband for fifteen years. This past August we celebrated seven years of marriage. He is the ying to my yang, calming force, and favorite partner-in-crime. Our history is worth sharing.

I met him in college.  Our love story begins in a crowded and dark fraternity house basement near a keg of Keystone Light. He sported ugly red Adidas sneakers, a God-awful bright yellow Northface jacket, two silver studs in his ears, and a mischievous smile. For me, it was love at first sight.

Those fashion remarks are what happens when I look back upon our initial interactions fifteen years later. Sarcasm aside, he wore all the things one would wear in 2003. Plus, he wore them well. And at that moment, and even now, I recall his powerful presence.

From early on it was clear we were different. But our differences elevated and encouraged one another. Together, we marched through our twenties.

But if I could tell my sorority-self one thing fifteen years ago it would be this: remember.

It’s entirely too easy to forget our beginning.

Currently, we’re in the hamster wheel. We’re running, spinning throughout our day, changing diapers, teaching manners, working hard, demonstrating good teeth brushing, preaching kindness, encouraging effort, and everything else under the blistering sun known as parenthood. And while we sit down to talk, swap stories of napless preschoolers or stubborn toddlers, relay random encounters, or dabble in heavy real-world debates and dilemmas, we’re tired. Sometimes in our exhaustive states, we forget about the keg of Keystone.

Why is the beginning so important? Because when we lose sight of where we started, where we are doesn’t mean as much, and where we’re going is void of inspiration.

We had a big argument yesterday. We were tired from a long day and weary from an even longer week. And we had forgotten to do the thing all marriages need, which is to remember.

This phase of life is every emotion and then some rolled into magic, mystery, and mayhem.

But I’m taking us back to that fraternity basement. We remember. Now, we refresh.

Before Cupid invades us with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, long-stemmed red roses, or overpriced greeting cards, remember. It’s the key to happily ever after.

Something Brief

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“Don’t Just”

Don’t just learn, experience.
Don’t just read, absorb.
Don’t just change, transform.
Don’t just relate, advocate.
Don’t just promise, prove.
Don’t just criticize, encourage.
Don’t just think, ponder.
Don’t just take, give.
Don’t just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don’t just hear, listen.
Don’t just talk, act.
Don’t just tell, show.
Don’t just exist, live.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

 

Something brief to take into the weekend. Enjoy every moment.

37

benjamin-davies-287077-unsplash.jpg“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is a word queen. She gets it, makes it better, and then sends it out into the world for the masses. She somehow manages to make me feel like it’s solely for me, hence her powerful influence.  The words above are my exact birthday sentiments. Each year I feel a profound desire to consider and celebrate every gain and growth. Too often, a lack of examination results in feelings of inadequacy or disappointment.

There’s some real truth behind gratitude and its marriage to motivation. Birthdays are markers of milestones. Candles illuminate more than our age. Discovery and delight are found in the smallest and most unexpected corners of our lives. There’s more to celebrate, I know it. In pursuing praise I find presence.

I’m working on a fiction novel, I think. It’s my first fiction novel and ignorance is bliss. I’m going with my gut and relying on instinct. We shall see how it unfolds. But as I wander through this project another one stirs in me. It’s what I refer to as a #passionproject. There’s no lure of compensation or expectation for it become something other an answer to a call. It’s part of my 38. 

I’ve been feeling the urge to Facebook Fika for awhile. Usually, I scroll through my friend list to stumble upon acquaintances from 20 years ago or long-lost friends from elementary school. It’s a distraction instead of discussion. These days there’s no need to ask “whatever happened to” because the answer is lurking somewhere in the wild world of social media. So what have I learned from profiles and status updates? I know people who are doing incredible things. I’m not talking fame. And my interpretation of incredible might differ from yours, but in ordinary days there are extraordinary moments. Thanks to social media I’m glimpsing into a patchwork quilt of these moments via friends.

I’ve decided to write about it. I imagine it will be strange for people who haven’t heard from me to get a request for a coffee chat. Hopefully, they’ll see the value in this #passionproject for what it is, which is a chance to connect. The connection I’m craving is because I see the value in celebrating.

I’m spending 37 focused on the possibilities. In a world where problems reign or occupy the spotlight, my rally cry is to celebrate.

 

 

 

Presence

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“For it is in giving that we receive.” ―St. Francis of Assisi

My birthday is next week. I go big for birthdays.  And spare me ramblings and rumblings of “when you’re older you won’t care as much.” Birthdays are my thing.

As I age I confess to one celebratory challenge, which is presents. I struggle on what to buy loved friends. I’m equally perplexed when others inquire as to what I’d like to receive. Throughout the year I keep a running list of fun gadgets or indulgences that catch my eye, but I don’t necessarily label things as gift-worthy. Yes, I need a new hair straightener. True, I am always in favor of Amazon gift cards. And one can never go wrong with pinot noir. But do I want to receive these as gifts? Let me be clear, I won’t say no, especially to the pinot noir. However, the thing I crave most on birthdays and beyond is presence.

Go ahead. Roll your eyes. Give me another, “you’re so cheesy, Katie.” I can handle it. But in these mid to late thirties days, when professional, personal, and everything else under the sun zone collides while tending to tiny humans who demand and delight in every ounce of energy, there’s a real lack of presence.

It makes sense. We’re not as available as we used to be and our calendars and chaos look much different.  But I want coffee with a friend. I need adult conversation. I crave history and humility with family.

This birthday I made it clear that what I want is time with my beloved and the circle of people who enrich and enliven me. Here’s to the gift of presence. May we recognize it as a gift wrapped in love and delivered with purpose.