on loving your peeps

peepsphoto credit here

 

sometimes, you learn  the hard way.

and so i’ll share, what i know now, with scraped knees – this kernel that i keep chewing, back of my mouth,  about grieving and living and what it means to live with, not just alongside.

 

i lost someone dear to me, again.  suddenly.  which is the way that car crashes tend to go, i suppose.

 

and when they asked me if i’d be willing to say a few words, up there, at the podium that hovered over the polished wood of casket … i said Yes as a knee jerks, though i only had ten minutes to prepare.

 

the walk up there was long, but my biggest worry was not that i wouldn’t have the right words – that i’d trip, either literally or figuratively.  it was that under those funeral parlor lights, those people sitting uncomfortable in folding chairs would look straight at me and know the real honest truth of my heart:

 

that  i hadn’t loved her well.

not lately.

 

had loved her in words, sure.  words are easy.   a big hug at Christmas?  a smile for the camera?  fine.  small talk?  check.  the occasional email forward?  done.

 

but i could barely look her mama in the eye.  because my love had become a noun – a thing that exists. it had long since stopped being a verb.

 

today marks just one week since her Facebook page went quiet, and because i know grief –the way it works — i know that the worst is still yet to come for her brother, just home from Afghanistan.  for her sister, left without big-sister check-in calls.

 

and, more than anything, i want to speak God-love to them. want to rub balm of scripture straight on to their wounds, want to be what the Church is called to be to the broken-hearted.

 

but the long history of the not–loving-well is a chasm … one that will take time to bridge.

 

so i say to you, those who read here with tender hearts:
love “your people” well.

whether tied by bloodline or history or circumstance, do the daily work of investing yourself in a real way to those whom God has put in your path.  He has put them there because he wants to use you.  Yes, even you.

 

and you never know when someday – sudden – you might find that it’s too late.

  1. joann

    thank you. People matter and we only have so long.

  2. joann

    Ummm, p.s. did you watch the office tonight? Because it was all about saying goodbye, and I thought of this post the whole time.

    • keLi

      did not catch it. hulu at naptime? sounds like a plan. 🙂

  3. Alyssa

    Great post, this is something I too have struggled with not long ago and came to a realization that no matter why life happens the way it does you should keep people close and realtionships strong. I have a problem cutting people out of my everyday life because I am not around them a lot, horrible thing to do. I am over coming this and can only tell you the joy I have been getting from making myself avaliable, stopping by for no reason just so they know I really do care. It is a challange but… just take the time and do it and it all seems to fit in where you thought there was no time. Thank you Father for opening my eyes.

    • keLi

      thanks for sharing this alyssa … i think we often wait for a “good time” to connect with people –then life happens, and that “good time” never comes. i agree: we need to be open to just “showing up” (and letting other people show up), if we want to cultivate real community.

  4. Peggy Stokes

    When we truly Love as Jesus does, it will mean we may have to sacrifice some of our very Loved possession of TIME>An elderly now deceasaed, long-time friend of mine would walk up to me at CHURCH or whereever I saw her—and she would reach and hug me’ plant a SWEET KISS on my cheek, look me straight in the eye and remark as she squeezed my hand,”OH! I JUST LOVE YOU”.Her words were truth, and they were real, and I could sense it. SHE had the Love of Jesus in her heart—-I will be looking for her UP THERE! If we LOVE, then we should show and TELL!TELL AND SHOW THAT LOVE THROUGH ACTIONS.

  5. Melissa@one thing

    You are beautiful…this post should be on all of our fridges for all of our forgetful hearts.
    Love YOU friend!