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Life and Death and the Love In Between

Aug 24, 2023
entwining hands of lovers wearing wedding rings

In a very personal and emotional episode of the podcast, today I’m sharing my recent experiences with love and loss and what I’ve learned about life and death that have made me way more intentional and committed to choosing more love, more of the time.

The last few weeks have been a really tender time for me. I’ve felt a lot of feelings, and I've learned a lot of things. I believe there is so much power in our shared human experience - this thing called life that is beautiful, exquisite, precious and also at times excruciating and heartbreaking.

Above all, I want you to know that you are not alone. 


Life & Death

As you probably know, my daughter got married about a week and a half ago, and it was a beautiful, perfect day. We got to celebrate my daughter and her new husband, and dance and laugh and hug and share the joy with a lot of people who love her and who love us.

I watched my daughter and her husband cry over the altar as they promised to love each other through this life and throughout eternity. And as my husband and I looked at each other, we were remembering the moment when we made those same promises to each other. There was so much love in that room. 

But just one week before, we were in a very different place, feeling very different feelings. The daughter of some close family friends died under tragic circumstances, and our hearts were broken for all of them. There was a deep collective grief throughout our neighborhood and church community. 

As I sat in church, mourning this loss, I looked around and noticed people all around me who had suffered deep losses, as well. And I realized that loss is the rule, not the exception.


The Connection Between Love & Grief

We live in a world of opposition. For every one of us, the fact that we are alive means that we will someday die. And when we choose to love someone, it means that we are inevitably also choosing loss and grief. This is what it means to be human.

As I thought about the joy and love surrounding my daughter’s upcoming wedding, my heart broke at the thought that someday there would also inevitably be separation, grief and loss. 

There was a part of me that wanted to warn them and protect them. There was a part of me that felt like maybe I should reign in my celebration because of the pain my friend was going through. 

Given the pain that exists in the world, should we really be indulging in joy? Is it appropriate to celebrate? And more importantly, is it safe to feel joy and love, knowing that it’s inseparable connected with loss? 

We are experiencing a life that will inevitably end in death. There is so much joy, but it's only there because of the possibility of loss. So, what do we do? How do we make peace with it?


3 Lessons Make Sense of Live, Love and Death

The three things I’m sharing with you have meant so much to me over the past few weeks as I’ve tried to make sense of it all. I hope they’ll be meaningful for you, too.


Go all in on love.

You only get one shot at this life. None of us is getting out alive, so you might as well feel as much love as deeply as you can for as long as you can. 

There is so much we can’t control, but we get to decide how much love we feel, how often and how deeply. Love is a choice, and you have to opt in. 

I’ve decided I want to feel unreasonable, excessive, over-the-top amounts of love while I’m here. I will express it and receive it freely. 

My brain wanted to shrink away from love and protect itself, but if loss is coming for each of us (and it is), we need to move toward more love as soon as possible. More love makes the loss worth it. We will never regret the love. We’ll only regret time spent choosing not to love - choosing resentment, anger or irritation. 

And while we’re at it, let’s go all in on joy and celebration, too!


You matter.

Not what you do, not what you accomplish - just you being you is all that matters.

As soon as we figure out that our time here on Earth is limited, it's so easy to think, I've got to do something with my life. I've got to accomplish something. I have to make a difference before I'm not here anymore. 

Our brains are obsessed with the idea that we are not enough, that we have to be more in every way in order to be acceptable. We look around and all we see is evidence in our lives that we aren't doing enough, that we aren't good enough.

I want you to know that you, being you, is always enough. You are the gift. Your existence is all the difference you ever need to make. 


Love makes room.

Love is so much bigger than we think, and there is room inside love for the entire breadth and depth of our human experience. 

As humans, we all have joy. And simultaneously in our moment of joy, someone in the world, or even someone close to us is suffering. Our joy can feel wrong somehow in the face of that. But love makes room for all of it. 

This past weekend, everybody attended my friend’s daughter’s funeral because of love. And people attended my daughter’s wedding reception later that evening because of love. 

Celebrating on the day of the funeral felt inappropriate or insensitive. I didn’t want to take any love away from my grieving friend. But the reality is that there is room inside love to hold all of it.

This is what it means to be here on Earth - that there is joy and there is pain. And Christ’s love makes room for all of it. It is only because of God’s love that we have any hope at all. His love for us is miraculous. His love for us is what allows us to love each other, go through the inevitable loss of this life and still be reunited in love on the other side.

My friend, I love you. I do not know the individual circumstances of your life or the losses you will face, but I do know that love is the one choice you will make that makes all the rest of it worth it.


You’ll learn:

  • Why love and loss must exist together
  • 3 things I’ve learned during an emotional time of life and death
  • Why love is always the right choice
  • The words I shared with my daughter and her husband on their wedding day

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