After tossing and turning for an hour last night, I finally got out of bed and began reading an old journal. There’s something about looking back on the things that used to occupy my mind—things that are now resolved and long forgotten—that settles me.
There was one journal entry that caused me to reach for my phone at 4 a.m. and text my best friend, the one person I can text in the wee hours of the night and not think twice about it. I had just read something that my 23-year-old self scribbled off the cuff… words of gratitude for my best friend and a prayer over her life.
“…I love her like a sister that I both look up to and look after. Thank you for her steady presence in my life during a stormy and unpredictable year. You [God] were my rock, but she was often the physical manifestation of dependability and protection and comfort. Bless her in many ways. Guard her life from hardships. Allow us to always be close…”
What a gift that our bond has remained and deepened over 10 years, long-distance, four children, and busy lives. Even though I crawled back into bed to hear my husband’s scratchy voice whisper, “There’s my girl,” making my heart swell in only the way he can, I went to bed realizing I have had more than one great love in my life.
There’s something about looking back on the things that used to occupy my mind—things that are now resolved and long forgotten—that settles me.
And so, I decided to write something to the single lady, perhaps because I wish I could have said it to myself 10 years ago when I was desperate to find the “love of my life.”
Love is designed to be powerful, magical, and life-changing, but true love isn’t exclusive to romance. No, it’s higher and greater than that. Love is so much bigger, broader, and more accessible than finding “the one.”
True love is found in…
The mother you woke up at 3 a.m. with a random ailment, not even considering the fact that she has to work in a few hours… because she doesn’t mention it. She simply gets out of bed and instinctively plays the role of triage nurse.
The friend who wears a wig with you for a night out, even though she has a full head of hair. Because you’ve recently lost yours to illness and aren’t quite comfortable wearing one out of the house yet.
The neighbor who wheelbarrows your lawn bags out to the side of the road on trash night without a word because they’ve been sitting in your backyard packed with leaves for weeks and the bottoms have now disintegrated. The same neighbor who orders a magazine subscription for your kids “just because” and brings newly hatched butterflies over to release.
The sister who shows up (without being asked) because you’re overwhelmed by a project and have no idea where to begin. The one who brings all the supplies you didn’t realize you needed, rolls her sleeves up, and tells you to sit down while she gets her hands dirty in your work that has absolutely zero benefit to her.
The parent you go to with an adult-sized problem that you created but don’t know how to navigate. The one who helps you clean up the mess without telling you how repulsive, shocking, or bad it is.
The high school coach who invites you into their home and even onto family vacations. The one who gives you a graduation gift that takes your breath away—something you desperately wanted but would never ask for because it was too expensive.
The grandparent who instills some of their deep loves in you—for certain movies, foods, hobbies, or music. These sounds, smells, and sights will become some of your most precious treasures because they take you back to times when, unbeknownst to you, you were being taught, loved, and deeply cherished.
The sibling who carries a lifetime of shared memories. The person with whom you can bring up almost any childhood incident and laugh until you cry in only the way the two of you could understand. The person who loves the people you love in only the way you can.
The child whom you see so much of yourself in, and yet, so much individuality at the same time. The one you feel a sense of pride in over the fact that they come from you and yet an even greater pride in them becoming the very person only they can be.
No matter what box we check on our relationship status, we can all experience great love. Whether it’s a traditional relationship or hand-picked and delivered in a unique way from above, it’s there if you look long enough. We must also never forget to BE the one who shows up, gives without expectation, or says the kind thing though not necessary—because you never know whose life you might forever mark with true love and kindness.
We must never forget to be the one who shows up, gives without expectation, or says the kind thing though not necessary—because you never know whose life you might forever mark with true love and kindness.
Once you see the love all around you, pass it on. This podcast episode of This Grit and Grace Life teaches us how we can share and express love in our friendships: Great Friends: 9 Qualities to Be One and Find One – 031