Inconvenient love

It took a while to get here. And then there was the jet-lag thing. 

But love isn’t always easy. Or comfortable.

Photo by on Unsplash


As I write this, I’m in the Far East (well, actually New Jersey … but if you’re from Oregon, Jersey is the Far East).

When one flies from coast to coast, one hopes for an uneventful trip. The trip was anything but uneventful.

1) Boarded a plane. 2) Deplaned due to wing damage from a run-in with a rather large bird. 3) Flight cancelled. 4) Two rebookings with a total of three trips through security. 5) Flew overnight and landed in the Far East eight hours behind schedule.

But love isn’t always on time. And love doesn’t care about jet lag.

Because there were children and grandchildren to hug, and trains to catch to NYC. And there was a Christmas Spectacular line to stand in outside Radio City Music Hall. (According to my youngest granddaughter, I may have dozed a little during the performance.)

But love is tough. It doesn’t mind jostling crowds or missing out on sleep.

I’ve been the adult in charge these past handful of days while son-in-law Josh and daughter Summer skipped town to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

One afternoon, The Littles and I went ice-skating. Later, when I compared the 2015 photo with the 2018 version, there was a painful twinge somewhere in the vicinity of my heart. 

Because The Teens had more important things to do. And The Littles aren’t so little any longer. See for yourself.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_4585-2-1.jpg
Ice-skating with all the grands — 2015
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_4998-1.jpeg
Ice-skating with The Littles — 2018

I understand why my kids had to grow up and go their separate ways. But I don’t quite understand why the grandkids have to, as well.

But love means letting go.

One evening, I was enjoying the company of my three youngest grandboys on the couch while they laughed their way through The Grinch.

I missed my youngest granddaughter who was in her room because she’s seen The Grinch sixty-seven times, or thereabouts.

And I missed The Teens because they went bowling.

I missed having everyone tucked exuberantly around me.



Sometimes love does that — it produces painful heart twinges. It means giving everyone their own space, letting go of expectations, dancing with the flow.

One final thought

It’s human nature to want the comfortable, the easy. But when I persist in loving through inconvenient places, then my life grows richer, more robust.

Winnie the Pooh weighs in on this critical matter:

Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more … to give way to the happiness of the person you love.

I will keep love alive by accepting inconvenience when it shows up.

By hiking the more challenging path, the messier way.

By taking a few steps backward, when necessary.

Because love is always, always, always worth it.


8 gifts to give yourself this year


Can we really be this brave?


  1. Nasus

    Merry Christmas, dear Marlys! So sorry you got off to such an “interesting” start in your Love On the Wing!! adventure! Love certainly does have to leave room to move in different directions than one has planned. Thank you for consulting Winnie the Pooh for his wisdom, also! God bless you, Sweet Messenger of Wisdom and a Wide Variety of Experience! Peace, Rest, Infilling, Joy and Contentment in Jesus are my prayers for you for right now! Love you!

  2. sally slick

    Ah my dear wonderful Marlys! If anyone dances with the flow, it is you!

    Love you! And Happy Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful year (we must get together!)

  3. Loretta

    Merry Christmas Marlys.
    I’m trying my best to have the strength you have shown to me over the last few years.
    My husband Mike had a heart attack and “miraculously” survived while we were out of town down in Indio, CA. Being away from the comforts of home (he can’t travel home yet) makes all seem so unsorted….not that life will ever be the same now but change is always a challenge and very scary. Hang in there, enjoy your time with your loved ones, each precious moment. God bless you in 2019.

    • Christmas blessings to you, Loretta, as you’re leaning into the inconvenience and challenge and scariness of love and change and being away from the comforts of home during this season. My heart goes out to you.

  4. Peter

    Remembering our coast to coast cycle ‘venture (Oregon to Virginia) west to east…. reaching Kansas and stopping at a General store/Gas Station/Grub stop, the very large attendant in his boiler suit and base ball cap saw us cycle in and he greeted us, “Hi, where yaw’ll from”. Without thinking I replied, “York” and before I could explain further he said, “Oh, over on the east” (I guessed he meant Yorktown!!!….. then I had to explain that I meant York in Yorkshire, England… over the big water of the Atlantic and across England to the East Coast”. It was then that he said he’d very rarely left his state of Kansas… I guess that’s love the way he lives his life. He had the biggest smile and wave for us as we went on our way and we chuckled at his kindliness…. Thank Marlys, keep enjoying your family get together, will no doubt talk in the new year. God Bless and home safely. Bx P & family.

    • Your west to “Far East” cycling adventure stories always amaze me, Peter! You, of all people, truly know how far the east is from the west in America!

      • Peter

        Just an add on Marlys. You made me think….. it’s hard to explain the Joy and Love that has surrounded me and the other singers in these past weeks. Singing solo today seemed to top it all off, the folks at the care/residential/ nursing home sang just about every carol, I was so pleased and there was a ‘spirit moving’ in that place, I do believe. With the choir the sound is so rounded, such a blend and range, even we get goose bumps and what is it?
        I believe it is the love in sharing and we are truly blessed. I have a break until New Years Eve, when I can let loose with some rock/gospel and R & B… yes and may be some country folk… Josh Turner – ‘I served a Saviour’ style & Scarlet Ribbons for you, if that’s OK, for all that you do for us. Every Blessing to you and yours. Bx P & family.

  5. Julie A Miller

    Merry Christmas Marlys, peace and joy to you!


  6. Grace Lawson

    Merry Christmas Dear Marlys !! So glad you are safe from the circumstances you endured. Thanks for sharing. We are safe in the State of Washington now to spend Christmas with our family. We are blessed !!! Love and Prayers, Grace

  7. Darrell Lake

    Merry Christmas Marlys…. and the very BEST for the New Year too… What you say is totally true. It is not what’s under the tree but those around it and it really has changed as we have watched those little ones grow up to be grown up people and seem to even disappear from being around the house. Then the grown up people that had always been the centerpiece of Christmases past have left us behind too so the changes continue. Even though it has been a number of years, I still miss hearing my dad read the Christmas Story and my Mom doing all those special things that became tradition. This year once again we will have another absent family member as my little brother Tim will be here with us but without his wife of many years. Change continues and somehow we have to handle it or it will handle us. One thing that never changes though is the reason for the season and remembering the Christ child that came to this earth to become our Savior… Blessings to you dear friend as you continue to do what you do to encourage others facing these continuing changes in our lives.

    • Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Darrell: “Change continues and somehow we have to handle it or it will handle us.” And yes, the unchanging love of Jesus Christ.

  8. Bre

    “Sometimes love does that — it produces painful heart twinges. It means giving everyone their own space, letting go of expectations, dancing with the flow.“

    This! So much this ☝️!!
    Thank you for your heart!!
    Love you!!
    Merry merry Christmas ?❤️

  9. Peggy Carey

    Thank you! Love to you, good wishes for 2019.

  10. Beautiful thoughts, Marlys! I will try to keep this in mind as my baby who has now turned a 3 1/5 year old independent boy asks for more space of his own. Also, one of these times you visit the “Far East” please stop by Cancer Hope Network’s office in Chester, NJ! We’ll take you exploring our quaint little town…and even great hiking a few minutes away at Hacklebarney Park.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • Cynthia! Your baby is an independent 3 1/5?! How can that be?! Thank you for the invitation to visit headquarters. I’m going to have to take you up on that. As for Hacklebarney Park — who doesn’t want to be able to say, “I hiked Hacklebarney Park”? What a fun name! Wishing you and yours all the best in 2019.

  11. Tracey

    Boy, Marlys. I really needed to hear this about letting go. The way you put it was very encouraging because I’m in the thick of letting go of seven children. The pain is unbearable at times because I love them all to pieces. It was good to be reminded that love will take a step back to give space.

  12. Paulette Zimmerman

    Thank you Marlys for this sweet and timely reminder that love can be – and often is – inconvenient or not always experienced according to our/my expectations. I am not yet at the “grands” season of life, but have had to step back to allow my adult children to experience all that the Lord has planned for them. And sometimes, that has “hurt” my own heart realizing that my role and the nature of our relationship is forever changed. While intellectually and biblically I know this is God’s best for them and me, my heart is sometimes another matter:) I thank the Lord for your ministry and for using your voice to communicate His lasting truths! May you continue to be blessed and comforted through Him in the coming years.

    • Well said, Paulette: “… realizing that my role and the nature of our relationship is forever changed,” which is exactly what we want for our children, but it’s the no-fun part, isn’t it? Thank you for your kind comments.

  13. Nora Weed

    Hi Marlys, your message this month was perfect for me. I only have two adult children and my almost 50 year old daughter is needing some space and I must step back. I’m sitting in here in Cannon Beach, staring at the ocean & thinking about your blog and saying to myself “I get it” but “I don’t like the twinge”. However the twinge is temporary and the love is forever, until death do us part. Thanks for keeping it real and for finding the wise Pooh quote. You are a gem and fountain of inspiration. Happy New Year!

    • Nora, you said this so well: “ … the twinge is temporary and the love is forever.” Now if we (moms and grandmas) can only remember that. Thank you, and a happy New Year back at you!

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