Yesterday while listening to music in the car, the song by Shinedown, How Did You Love, came on, and this line sang out to me.
In the context of the song, he’s singing to people who have faith and talk a great talk, yet are filled with hate. The whole line is, “How do you justify, I’m mystified by the ways of your heart.” But just the part about being mystified by the ways of a person’s heart rang out to me about my beloved, departed, darling Phyllis, who was the exact antithesis to this song – she had great faith, was not afraid to speak it, and she loved like nobody’s business!
This is a Tribute to the Lovingest Person I ever knew: Phyllis Extraordinaire!
Phyllis loved people instantly and unconditionally before she ever knew them. If you were in her presence, she loved you, and you knew it, and it made you warm and a little curious and strange feeling. How could she? But she did, and you mattered, and you were special and incredibly valued. I’ve never met anyone who had this effect on so many people.
She passed away before Christmas this last year, and I went to her Celebration of Life Service. I came with tissues, prepared to bawl my eyes out because Phyllis was gone, and how would we ever go on? But I laughed harder at her funeral than it seems right or proper for anyone to laugh at something like this. We all did. We were doubled over laughing at her cute little face, and her antics, her catch phrases and the way she never did what she was supposed to do, but somehow always did the right thing. She got herself in “trouble” a lot, but to make us laugh. And she loved each of us with a fierceness and tenderness that gathered us all up as her little chicks and ducklings. She loved our kids like they were her own grandkids. She loved celebrations and never missed a birthday. She loved food and always found a way to feed us. She loved with every ounce of her tiny body.
And one of the people who spoke encouraged us all to leave this service and find ways in each of our lives to spread the kind of love that Phyllis lived.
She ended up magnifying love in a very wide circle of the people she loved, who now feel an urgency, an obligation (but one filled with honor) to carry her brand of love forward into our own circles and love with a fierceness and tenderness and humor that resembles her.
What a force! What a powerful legacy this woman left behind.