I’ve been thinking a lot lately about family, friendships, and how to love the people I care about in the best way possible. There are some people around me who are hurting desperately right now. Some are really sick, while many others are navigating through the tough illness of someone they love. Others are actively or newly grieving, while some are just enduring a really tough, busy, unpredictable season with little people and it’s wearing them thin.
As I’ve thought about each of these people I love and how to best love them through these tough times, it’s made me reflect on the times in my life that I’ve been loved really well through some really, really hard situations. And the time in reflection led me to this… the times I have felt the most loved have always been the times when I was loved quietly by some very special people.
What do I mean by that? To me, being loved quietly meant the person who was there for me met me where I was, with no judgment, and did something beautiful for me that wasn’t big and also wasn’t for show. You never saw a post about it on social media. You never heard about it from anyone else. And what they did likely wasn’t anything big or flashy; just a simple act of true love and friendship.
I’ve had some really wonderful examples of this kind of love so many times in my life. Particularly over the last 6 years as I’ve developed some special friendships later in life.
One dear friend embodies this kind of love in who she is as a person. Since we became friends she has shown up for me countless times in really amazing, quiet ways. For example, this special friend of mine has never forgotten an anniversary of Olivia’s passing or her birthday despite the fact we didn’t meet each other until a few years after Olivia’s death. One year she showed up at my house with flowers and balloons on her birthday, another year she tucked a card and some treats into my son’s diaper bag on the anniversary of her death so I would find them later when I might need that reminder of love the most. Other years she makes sure the day doesn’t go by without taking me to coffee or if life is extra busy, she makes sure she sends me lots of love from a distance.
This same girl also spent nearly every day with me as I navigated through a separation and divorce, and patiently loved me while I built my life all over again from the ground up. I never once felt judged by her. I could yell, cry, scream, or just dream about life going forward. Regardless of what I needed to do she was always there and ready to listen and offer a judgment free sounding board.
When I was a single mom, another friend of mine showed up one day at my office with a care package for me the day before a big weekend fundraising event. She brought me a bottle of wine, snacks, and home cooked food she had prepared so the kids and I would be taken care of during a really busy week. She did this in spite of the fact that she had a big event that same weekend for work too. That incredibly kind gesture meant so much to me!
I also have another sweet friend that calls me at least once every week or so just to check in on me no matter how busy of a season she is in! She never lets much time go by without calling just to make sure I know I am loved and to cheer me on through whatever challenge I might be experiencing or exciting thing is happening. Our friendship, founded in a shared grief few have had to experience has been so incredibly special to me.
And these are just a few examples of the kind of quiet love I’ve been so blessed with from some really special women in my life!
This quiet love is also something my husband does incredibly well! He always shows up for the kids and I. He patiently wades through each season of grief with me that always comes in like a tidal wave with each passing birthday and anniversary. He is my best friend and biggest supporter no matter what, volunteers countless hours behind the scenes for my daughter’s foundation, and loves me despite all of my hundreds of imperfections. And he loves the kids endlessly too. No matter how busy his week was he always has time to work on a science experiment with Wyatt or to build something cool with Landon. He never tires of teaching them how to play football or fix something around the house, and our walls are filled with special drawings the kids wanted to make sure we saved forever. I waited my whole life for a special love like this and I will spend the rest of my life making sure he gets that same, wonderful, quiet love from me in return.
Quiet love is a gift I hope you all experience in your life over and over again. And may it be something we all strive to give to those in our lives, especially during those seasons where they might not have much to give back in return. It doesn’t have to be big or flashy, in fact quiet love is meant to be anything but.
Quiet love is the greatest gift we all have to give. And the best part is, it doesn’t cost a thing.