Man and woman hugging.

It’s About Love

The Beatles hit “All You Need is Love” always came off a bit simplistic to me. Sure, love is great but we need a lot of other things too as we seek to successfully move through transitions. Like courage, resilience, hope, good timing…

How do you define love anyway? The Greeks looked at it in 4 different ways– familia, friendship, romantic and divine. We know love when we see it—but it is hard to describe. A true emotion of affection and attraction? Feelings of kindness and care? All or some of the above?

As I reflect on the previous year however defined, it is love which has kept me going. People have loved me throughout this experience —and in an assortment of ways, as my journal indicates.

From Tom’s journal–Fortifications for a cancer Journey*

  • The Tech calls my name and says, “Hi, I’m Ann and I’m here to take care of you.” We walk like old friends to the chemo treatment room as I verify the spelling of my name and date of birth. I get a room with a view of budding pear trees and a breeze blown pond. Sweet.
  • No matter what happens tomorrow with the good doctor F, most of my life will continue as it is—rich and full. So Thomas, don’t lose heart. Regardless of what these nasty cells are doing or how many are still hanging around, you will continue to fight; your work, play and prayer will not stop. Your God is not going anywhere, Les still loves you and is by your side. Hope springs eternal. Love is hanging around.
  • I lay in the PET scan tube the other day getting pictures taken of my insides and while soft music played, I felt like I was in heaven. There were clouds and sky painted on the ceiling overhead. Tears came as I reflected on how blessed my life has been and is. How from the very beginning, I have had loving people around me. I thought of my parents, brothers, cousins, teachers, coaches, bosses, friends, family, colleagues, Les and our kids—so so many. I wanted to hug each one. And while in that tube, my heart sang. I wanted the time to last and last.

Henri Nouwen in his book, The Inner Voice of Love writes about how “taking in love” is what’s critical when we’re feeling disempowered. Our tendency is to work harder or try a new strategy. I’ve advised people countless times that when things aren’t working and you’re discouraged, try something new. Take bigger risks.

But Nouwen encourages us “to take something in that deepens and strengthens our sense of goodness and allows our inaction, blockage or pain to be embraced by love.” Then and only then will we gain the strength we need to move forward. The more we come to know ourselves—spirit, mind and body—as truly loved, the freer we will be to be our true selves. And find the meaningful work which is ours.


Ask yourself how can you more fully realize how much you are loved by the people in your life? Make a list of these people and how they love you. How can this love strengthen you to make future decisions and take the important steps necessary for success in your transition?

*Tom was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma in summer of 2012. Following 6 months of chemotherapy, the cancer went into remission and continues so as of this date. These writings are intended to draw connections between Tom’s experiences with this disease and challenges related to work/career transitions.

Thomas Bachhuber, Ed.D., President of the Board and Executive DirectorThomas Bachhuber, Ed.D.
President of the Board and Executive Director for The Center for Life Transitions. Tom is responsible for overall Center leadership and strategy. His individual coaching/counseling as well as workshops and retreats focus on integrating leading career development ideas with spiritual exploration. Read more.