Over the past few years, Holly has blessed us all with her words and musings about things that unite us all as human beings — love and loss, despair and hope. Somehow she can get us to laugh and cry all in one paragraph. Reading her story helps us process a bit of our own. She has been to the depths of despair and lived to tell about it. Something about that ministers to all of us. If she can live and love again, perhaps we can (will) too — when the time comes. Because, one way or another, it will come.
Well, this real, authentic, funny, relatable, fallible, beautiful girl — she GETS MARRIED tomorrow! What?! Praise God. This “beauty for ashes” moment truly takes our breath away. But, if Holly has taught us anything, it’s that every moment in life — the good and the hard — comes with its own set of feelings to process. And so, as Holly’s writing partners, we wanted to take a minute to process a bit from our point of view — perhaps those of you who love her too can relate….
I would like to talk for a minute about anticipating Holly and Tony’s marriage. It seems to me like leaving and cleaving is an important part of getting married. But Holly has already gotten married once. This is a different kind of leaving and cleaving. She is leaving the land of being a single mother and a widow and transitioning into a new role. There will still be aspects of both single motherhood and being a widow that affect her life every day even after she’s married.
But I think I feel the change. I feel it in our friendship. These are good changes, but changes nonetheless. She no longer needs us like she used to. Of course, she needs us and we need her — that will never change. But the dynamic of having a widow or a single mom in our midst is shifting; she and Tony are becoming one. And so, naturally, the places in her life where we filled in the gaps are shifting, changing, ebbing. It’s like she and Spencer, Leah, and Macie are leaving parts of her routine and her community and cleaving together with Tony and his children. It’s necessary but, for us anyway, bittersweet.
So we know friendships change for every different reason in the world. This change is such a beautiful one – I’m so happy to know Tony, but happier still knowing Tony and Holly together and seeing that newness. So my wish for all of us living into change is that we would really be present with one another. Matthew 6:34 utters the question; which of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? and it also lends advice; let tomorrow be anxious for itself.
Speaking of tomorrow – I am unbelievably excited to celebrate!! We’ll celebrate beauty coming out of the ashes & cut some serious rug! I’ve already got my dancing shoes on.
I remember walking into the small waiting room the day that Dave died. The hollow look of panic behind Holly’s eyes, the guttural sounds of deepest grief coming from a place no one ever wants to visit. Those images will be with me forever. But so will another one… I will always remember how Holly’s community of people rallied. It was like some sort of primal supernatural spirit took over. Men and women came out of the woodwork to really take care of this woman and her sweet children. Emails, phone calls and texts flew back and forth coordinating everything from weekly cleaning visits, daily meals, nightly sleepovers, playdates for the kids, financial help — you name it, someone jumped in to help however they could. It was a most beautiful manifestation of “the church” in action. I imagine God looked down and said, “Yes! This. You all are catching a glimpse of heaven on earth.” True, authentic relationship grew out of the messy and the beautiful, the hard and the holy. Our community “cleaved” to Holly in profound ways and, if I may be so bold, she responded in kind.
As Christina said, it’s time for her to “leave and cleave” to her new family. She must start a new attachment process. I remember meeting Tony for the first time. I was excited, but the Mama Bear in me came out for sure. I wanted to be friendly (I think I was!), but I also wanted him to know he was stepping into sacred territory. This was “our girl” and no one was going to mess with her on our watch. In fact, I’m pretty sure I said something like, “Tony, it’s SO great to meet you! But I need you to know, if you hurt her I will break your knee caps.” (Tony can verify the exact wording, but I’m pretty sure he got the message.)
Well, suffice it to say, Tony has met and exceeded all expectations. He loves her deeply and would do anything for her. We are grateful for that. But their new life together comes with change for us as well. We no longer need to guard and protect her like we used to. Tony is her protector now. Of course our friendship will stand the test of time, but he is the one she will go to in those most profound moments. As it should be.
So tomorrow, as a community of people who love and adore you both, we release you to each other.
Holly and Tony, may your hearts grow and mold into the shape God has crafted especially for you. We bless you on your new leg of the amazing race! Just don’t be surprised if you find us tagging on a bit along the way. 🙂