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I know it’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’m SUPPOSED to be talking about finding that *special* gift for that *certain* someone, but if you’ve spent much time around here you know romance makes me gag and commercial holidays (especially ones with insanely obnoxious ads that portray men as clueless morons and women as superficial spoiled brats whose love is bought with gifts) are not exactly my style. Say it with me: bah humbug.

What I really want to talk about is LOVE.

This here is Abbegale (aka Abbey to her family or Abbsmegabs to me, for short) and Joann (aka Joanie to her family or Jojo to me, for short). More on Jojo in minute…

Today is Abbegale’s 30th birthday, which is quite momentous for us at Milagro as she is the baby of our family. Which means there are no more twenty-something Milagrans.

She’s also about to celebrate her five-year Milagroversary. Joann, an old friend of Abbegale’s, joined us two months later.

When Milagro was under construction in November of 2013, we had a sneak-peek party in our concrete & brick box so the Milagans could see what they were in for. Abbegale brought her dad, one of the most important people in her life.

I chatted with him that night. He said it felt like we were building something very special and sacred and he thanked me for letting him be a part of it. Five days later, he was gone. Just like that. I’ll never forget that Friday night phone call from Abbegale.

Fast forward to last week when Joann lost her mom too young. Just like that.

Watching these two women, one over the past three years and one over the last week, face and handle grief, together, has been a gift.

A wise mentor once wrote to me the miracle of Milagro may not be in getting rid of stress or hurt or pain, but in “massaging” it into something stronger. And really, isn’t this the miracle of being human? Taking the unimaginable gut-punches of life and using them to grow our capacity to love and share and show compassion? To become better and softer and wiser?

The best people I know have traveled the roughest roads. Remember that when you’re overwhelmed with the load you’re carrying. The reward can be a bigger heart than you ever thought you could have.


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