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Been Thinkin’…

We attended the funeral this week, of a woman from our church. She was well known for having a strong personality and strong opinions. She was not an easy person to read. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She told it like it was. And underneath an oftentimes perceived gruff exterior, lay a heart swollen with love for others and for her God. I’m sure she was much more complex than I’ll ever know…having lived a lifetime of hardships, blessings, and no doubt heartaches. Though I didn’t know her deeply, I knew enough to smile when I think of her now. I could see the lives she touched, in her own way. She made her mark on us, in our own interactions with her. Offering us home cooked meals after Matt’s stroke, sending us cards, and she always greeted us with a big smile and hearty hello. The last time I saw her in church, a couple of small girls were giving her Valentine’s Day cards…and I could see she was truly touched and tickled.

She reminded me a lot of my Grandpa Lyle. The kind of person you may have feared at first…wanting to be sure to never be on their bad side. But then, over time, the harsh exterior layers would inevitably be worn down to reveal the soft mushy interior…even if only in small glimpses. I often lament that Grandpa died too young. I wish he had known Matt better. I wish he’d had the chance to soften even further with his great grandchildren, whom he would have adored fiercely. I wish he could have seen me grow into the woman I am today. I wonder what he’d think of me. I sometimes see his stubbornness in myself, his tendency to be gruff. I know he passed this on to my mother, and I can see it trickling down to me. I’ve certainly revealed my mush here at times…and to many of you at various times in person…but sometimes I’m actually AWARE that how I’m responding to someone isn’t truly how I feel about them. I can tell I’m holding back. Maybe deep down, I worry that if I reveal how much I care – it will end up hurting me in the end. Which is silly, I know. At this point in my life, why should I care? Life IS too short. I’ve lived that first hand. We simply don’t have nearly as much time with each other as we think we will.

A week or so ago, Pastor played a song in church, which spoke about this very thing…

If I Had Only Known

If I had only known
It was the last walk in the rain
I'd keep you out for hours in the storm
I would hold your hand
Like a life line to my heart
Underneath the thunder we'd be warm
If I had only known
It was our last walk in the rain
If I had only known
I'd never hear your voice again
I'd memorize each thing you ever said
And on those lonely nights
I could think of them once more
Keep your words alive inside my head
If I had only known
I'd never hear your voice again
You were the treasure in my hand
You were the one who always stood beside me
So unaware I foolishly believed
That you would always be there
But then there came a day
And I turned my head and you slipped away
If I had only known
It was my last night by your side
I'd pray a miracle would stop the dawn
And when you'd smile at me
I would look into your eyes
And make sure you know my love
For you goes on and on
If I had only known
If I had only known
The love I would've shown
If I had only known

I had to sit there looking at the plants, the paint, the carpet…anything to distract myself from the sentiment of the song. Even looking at the words now, I can’t help but feel the tears welling up. It’s just so true. And I don’t want to live my life with the regret that I didn’t show the love in my heart for others. If you are in my life, I want you to feel how much you mean to me. Even if its random hugs and strange bouts of unexpected mushiness…just know that it is ultimately because I love you. And I never want you to doubt it.

I know I’m not always an easy person to read. I know I can appear gruff, judgy, opinionated. But inside, I am full of love for you.

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