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Holding the Love I’ve Known

When my body won’t hold me anymore
And it finally lets me free
Where will I go?
Will the trade winds take me south through Georgia grain?
Or tropical rain?
Or snow from the heavens?
Will I join with the ocean blue?
Or run into a savior true?
And shake hands laughing
And walk through the night, straight to the light
Holding the love I’ve known in my life
And no hard feelings
— The Avett Brothers, No Hard Feelings

I’m watching four people in my family waste away before my eyes. We all have our time, but it still comes as a shock when that time is in such close proximity to now. When you’re the one holding it together for them and others you learn a few things about yourself. Mostly you learn to stop deferring and just say and do the things that need saying and doing.

I’ve noticed some doubt and regret overwhelm those facing rapidly receding time on this earth. Life is unfair, we all see that and reconcile with it as best we can, but it’s particularly unfair for those who have the rug pulled out from under them in the prime of life. You mean to have that conversation, experience that moment, see that place for the first time or maybe for one last time, and realize that you’ll never reach it.

What are we to do, knowing we haven’t done all we want to do, but celebrate what we did have the chance to do? To hold on to the love we have known? For that’s all that matters in the end. We make the ripple we make, and hope that the world might feel the urge to surf it. Life isn’t the accumulation of stuff or places or rungs on the career ladder, it’s the people you love in this world.

We all have our time, sometimes far sooner than we ever imagined. We either hold a grudge with the universe or dance in the time we have left. No hard feelings—only love.

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