What a pleasure it's been to cultivate this space in 2015. I am so grateful to my readers who have shared their time, hearts, and energy to give me feedback and encouragement.
Without further ado, here are my most read, shared, and liked post of 2015. Give them a read.
Happy New Year, dear ones. May you be filled to the brim with hope, love, courage, and tenacity in the coming season.
Just last week, I asked my friend, do other people get sad in the fall?
Sort of a weird question, I realized, after it fell out of my mouth.
She wondered at me for a moment, and then I think she knew what I meant. Or at least, she didn’t make me feel like a freak.
Sad may not have been the right word. The right word may have been nostalgic or maybe even full. The fullness of smells and sounds and chunky sweaters and pumpkin spice everything and always the change. The change of kiddos growing older, people gathering around tables, and for me, the tiny reminder that life will never again be what it is RIGHT now.
Sometimes, when life feels so full and good and beautiful and rich, I notice it, the longing.
This may rock your world, but I don't know everything. Yep, it's a shocking thought.
And these days I tend to remember that truth.
But occasionally in my life I have acted as though I do know everything. Sadly, it never works out well. Especially when another person is the recipient of my know-it-all-ness.
You’re familiar with the person who has all the answers, right?
It usually sounds something like this:
“Oh you’re sad? Have you tried being thankful?
"You need to lose weight? Well working out X number of times usually does the trick for me"
“Your marriage is in shambles? Have you tried ________?”
What do these answers have in common? Basically, I’m trying to “fix” the other person without acknowledging that A) They probably would have already addressed the issue if it were simple and B) I'm minimizing their experience by not recognizing each situation is unique.
She sat with me, and you could cut the air with a knife. It was thick with tension and possibility, but mostly with emotion. My emotion.
My dear mentor cried with me, and sat with me, as I processed my family and my story and my heart.
She held space for me—to be broken and messy and unfinished.
But also, by creating safety in our relationship— she caused me to feel seen and known and loved.
The art of holding space is one we’re all capable of, and yet we fear it. It’s scary to enter each other’s stories without waving our imaginary ‘fix-it wand.’ But I can say, both from my personal experience and having sat with others as I have created space for them, it is powerful.
Why is that? Why is the simple act of creating safety in relationship so healing?
Standing over the stove, you can tell she’s in her element. The woman can cook.
She may not be able to recite the recipe exactly, and may have to tell you in three separate phone calls the revisions to the recipe, but cooking is her love language. That and waking up at 5am to make sure your pants were hemmed when you needed them.
Service has always been the way she supported.
You see her there, dicing the onions, and her hands look tired and worn. She’s done the work of a hundred men in her time, I’m sure of it. Never met another woman who could do what she’s done; raising five kids, keeping a 6000 square foot house and owning a clothing business. That’s nothing to thumb your nose at.
Sometimes it feels like she’s a million miles away and she probably is; her story is a beautiful and a broken one. Filled with so much loss and leaving, when you hear about it, it makes your heart feel a physical pain. Most folks don’t know what to do with that pain.
It’s been 8 years now.
Father's Day didn't used to hold a lot of weight for me, just another Hallmark holiday really, but it's been 8 years since my dad chose not to be in my life. The most defining moment came when he wasn't at my wedding.
My brother walked me down the rose covered aisle, and I fought like a warrior for joy as Pachabel Cannon in D filled our ears. God showed up in that old church and gave me greater peace than I have ever known before or since. We took our vows and I could feel the presence of every guest that supported us on that muggy June night. And as the reception wore on, I rested with the beautiful joy of the life before me. My husband held my hand and candle light danced on my skin, but even then I allowed a small seat for grief too.
I have gone back and forth on when and how and if I would ever publicly tell this story. As I have wrestled, I always come back to the belief that maybe someone else needs to hear about this pain and shame. There are parts to this story that I can’t share, because frankly, not all of it’s mine. But I’ve decided, I want to share the parts I own.
Anything you'd like to add to the list? Let me know your thoughts!