Love Idol 4

For the next few Wednesdays in Lent, I’ll be talking about Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book “Love Idol,” which released on March 25, 2014.

The other night I ran into Cindy (not her real name), who was walking her two chocolate Labs. She called out my name, but I didn’t recognize her until we were face to face, right in the middle of Austin Street.

Did you catch that she was walking two Labs? I walk two tiny terriers that together weigh only one-third of what each of Cindy’s Labs weighs. She’s a woman of unexpected strength.

But I didn’t know that when I first met her. I misjudged her.

Cindy asked me how we’re doing. Usually, I hate that question, but I don’t mind when she asks. Even though she’s not a close friend by any means, even though I go months without talking to her, even though she is the last person I  expected to care about our situation, much less to be an ally. It turns out, she’s a true friend.

Over the last year, I’ve found support from unexpected sources. The supportive folks usually have a story of their own — like Cindy. The woman going through a divorce has been supportive. So has the friend who’s dealing with an alcoholic mother. The lady at the gym whose son was on drugs, ditto. Those people have been wonderful.

It’s the one percent who haven’t been wonderful who have absolutely killed me. The man who turned away from me at the frozen yogurt shop, the woman who avoided me at the donut place. The people who pretend I’m not there. I didn’t think I had a huge need for approval until I was suddenly  on the other end of crushing disapproval.

And I hate to admit it, but if I hadn’t been in the midst of my personal yuckiness at the same time Cindy was going through hers, I might have judged her, too.

Instead, we stood in the middle of the street and talked about giving up control of those we love. We  stepped aside for the random truck meandering its way down the road. (It’s a small town.) We took turns petting her Labs, who got a little restless and tied Cindy up in their leashes, but she wrestled them free. We hugged. Then she walked to her home, and I got in the car and drove to mine.


  1. This moment of connection, captured in prose but with so many subtle poetic touches. How could we possibly get through this crazy life on earth without compassion and empathy? How can we get through a week or a day without someone to listen and try to truly hear and understand?

    Have you seen this video?

  2. Your word rang loud in my heart Megan. “…talked about giving up control of those we love…” Yes. Yes. Even though I was taken to a hard class on this years ago there always seems to be a new opportunity to test me in this area. Even in my church home. I just love that you are so young and have a grip on the reality of it already.

  3. Oh, no. I have been in the one percent.

    Thanks for this, Megan. A little act of turning away at the yogurt shop can be so huge, with lasting effects, and I’m not sure how well I knew that.

  4. I am in the midst of giving up control of those that i love. My husband wants to separate, and i have been trying to convince him to stay. My youngest daughter is one that does not, and never has, liked me or wanted to need me. I have been trying very hard to hold onto people. I end up getting better and better at codependency. And now the process of getting my-self into shape, in many ways and forms, to get-a-life while not pushing away people that i love, and not losing hope or love altogether. Letting lose of my clutching and wanting to control the other. They will decide what they want for themselves. It is a wrenching, hard, hurtful, growth. I wonder about this fifty-eight year old woman and when she is indeed going to grow up.

  5. letting loose of …not lose.

  6. One of the “blessings” of walking through times that threaten to absolutely undo us is being able to sympathize with and encourage others who are going through their own trials. It is so easy, and I know I’m guilty of it, to judge from the outside looking in.
    Thank you for sharing your heart in such an honest, beautiful way Megan.

  7. Megan – I think I am learning to love the Cindys in my life, too, because they have sought me out and found me in my hard places, like the bear going down the hole in Ann’s video (love that, by the way!). I have felt more connected with you because we each have our stuff. Thanks for writing this post. You have been my Cindy, today, in fact!

  8. LOVE this – your post and Ann’s video. Powerful truth here, Megan. And painful truth, too.

  9. “She’s a woman of unexpected strength.” So are you.