Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.
Jesus said: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39) As creatures made in the image of God, we reflect the heart of God, who is a God of love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Love allows us to connect with one another in deep and meaningful ways; as marriage partners, as families and friends and in community with one another. In such relationships we find meaning and purpose and great joy. But as C.S. Lewis noted: To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibility broken. Love inevitably leads to loss and grief; in this world they are inseparable; we grief because one who was loved has been taken from us. Some would say grief is the cost of loving. Dr. Alan Wolfelt, author and Director of the Centre for Loss and Life Transition makes this observation: Grief is predicated on our capacity to give and receive love.
C.S. Lewis writes: If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
Henry Nouwen wisely observes: Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart. Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.
In the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John, as Jesus stands at the tomb of his friend Lazarus; as he observes the tears of Mary and Martha and those gathered in support, the text says he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. (John 11:34) And then we read, Jesus wept. (11:35) When those around Him saw the said: See how He loved him! (11:36) I take great encouragement in having One who can identify with sorrow of losing one we love. Just as God gives to us the capacity to love, He will also give the grace and courage to grieve and mourn; He will be to us the God of all comfort.
And…there is coming day when there will be no more death and dying; no longer will we experience loss and the deep sorrow that comes with losing one we love. The Bible says God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
That day is coming! We will be forever with our Lord and reunited with loved ones who have gone before us! What a day that will be!!