You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet here on the blog. These past few weeks have been emotional. For the country (a few times over) and for me personally. Too many lives have been lost for me to comprehend and it all came to a head with my Uncle John’s passing. I got the call from my Dad right after we picked up the rental car in Dallas last Saturday. He was only 53. He was the funniest man, and from before I can even remember, I affectionately called him Silly Uncle John. And that made me Silly Lauren, a nickname I loved immensely. To say he will be missed is a vast understatement.
There were a lot of tears in various hotel rooms throughout Texas last week, but I laid there after something made me cry and admitted that all of this has made me contemplate the meaning of life. And yes, I laughed after I said it because it sounded so dramatic. But honestly, I was contemplating it! I still am! Why do some people get to live long full lives and others don’t? Why do some people have to say goodbye to their siblings/parents/aunts/uncles long before they should? How is that fair? Why does that happen?
Unfortunately this post is not going to answer those questions, because I personally have no clue. What I can share is this: when wondering how I was going to get through the week, Adam told me, “you just have to be grateful for what we do have.”
That next day we stopped in Magnolia Market in Waco on our way from Fort Worth to Austin… and in one of their beautiful displays was a sign that said “Embrace What is Good.” Sure, it’s just something that Chip & Joanna Gaines put in their store. But this week/weekend in particular, it resonated with me. When things are bad, it can be tempting to solely embrace the bad. And while I am a firm believer in letting yourself FEEL what you’re feeling, I think it can also be powerful to find opportunities to open your arms to positive things, even in the face of turmoil.
Easier said than done though, right? Ever since the funeral, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a weird haze. A sad funk I can’t seem to get out of. Yet, I also felt super guilty putting everything in the back of my head during our trip. I wondered if it was fake of me to pretend everything was fine… but I was there for a collaboration. I had committed to a JOB. What else could I do? Turns out this was actually an exercise in “embracing what is good.” And surprisingly enough, it was cathartic to let the good moments happen before making my way to the East Coast to be with my family for the services.
Speaking of the good, the way Nolan Nation embraces each other, both in good times and bad, is something extremely special. Seeing all my family members, hugging all 17 of my cousins a little bit longer (yes, there are 18 of us!), listening to stories – all of that became more important and meaningful than ever. I’ve never been so thankful for that big, supportive, hilarious, loving family of mine.
But to take all of this one step further, I think we forget sometimes to look for the good in everyone else around us. This is something that my Uncle John excelled at. He could talk to almost anyone and find their best qualities immediately. The things that were said about him at his wake and funeral were all along the lines of: “he never judged anyone” – “he could make you laugh no matter what” – “he had the biggest heart” – “he never made me feel less than.” It makes sense that the back of his prayer card had Emerson’s quote about success on it. I know you know it, but here’s a refresher…
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.
I get caught up (we all get caught up!) in what is bad, hard, stressful, sad, unfair. And even though it’s easy to feel guilty for enjoying moments in between sadness, you get to be here. I believe those who have left us would want us to be present and enjoy all that life has to offer. To let yourself laugh, feel happy, enjoy the view, taste the food, hold hands.
So this week, hug your favorite person extra tight. Tell your Mom and Dad you love them. Find something to be grateful for. Stop and smell the damn flowers. EMBRACE WHAT IS GOOD.
One more thing…
Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers these past few days. I’m so lucky to have such a supportive community of readers/followers. Every message meant the world to me. Thank you thank you thank you.