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The Velveteen Husband

He left the two dogs and me behind to attend an aunt’s funeral service in our hometown, five hours away. My husband will pay special attention to family and bless those brought into close connection with him. And he will inhale the world of South Arkansas once again, a world that is part of his life story.

I’m not going to the funeral, because I do not feel well. That will become part of my life story.

As we live and breathe, there are going to be losses. Losses and stressors. Those stressors can steal my thoughts and emotions. They can even affect my physical well-being. What stressors cannot affect is my own story. Nothing can rob me of my story. Not even death.

I let my hand rest on the head of a yellow lab. I feel my knotted shoulder trying to hold our corner of the world together. Why do I try to hold a family or world together? It’s habit, a bad habit. No need to be glue or cement. What’s more likely is that I need to let go, believing that what breaks off will help create a better way.

How will my husband deal with the stress he will encounter today? No doubt that he will give away hugs and laughter, blessing friends and family. He will love them throughout the day like that love found in The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. That love makes a difference. He will remember stories of his uncle and aunt and do small acts of generosity. He will be loving and real. He is the Velveteen Husband. His way spills over onto the rest of the world and diffuses stress levels here and there.

My goal is similar: to give God my worries and trust God actually has them, believing that He’ll take care of them. Honestly, I don’t know how to do any of this. And it sounds monumental when I type the words, but if I keep believing and living one half-hour period at a time, I stay out of the future and love people better. My Velveteen Husband intuitively knows just how to do this.

His behaviors say: “I am here and I am FOR you. You can count on me.” I believe behaviors, no matter what a tongue says. Behaviors are believable. They never lie—truth in our bones.

If you hand me a cup of hot tea, sit with me, give me eye contact, use a soft voice, you will buffer and soothe my stress. I will feel your love and care. You will lower my stress. It will feel velveteen and safe. It may seem like a small gift, but the knot in my shoulder may disappear.

Life can break us. So many little deaths happen before we actually die.

And then, someone does something inconvenient to love me more than himself. Always, a miracle and blessing. Always, velveteen.

Photo taken by Pat Durmon, February 10, 2017.

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