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Friday, January 27, 2012

The Healing Heart (book excerpt)

Oh how I wish we were as gentle with other peoples hearts as God is with ours! How do we deal with the loss of love or the pain love causes? What about the wounded hearts, the lonely nights, the struggle to allow yourself to love again?  What do we do about those who break hearts, those who leave us broken hearted, and all those whose hearts we never seem to be able to reach?  Rabbi David Wolpe in his book, Making Loss Matter, said this about love,

…Love is an ever fixed mark in the minds of poets, but in the world, love can fade or end. ‘Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,’ wrote Shakespeare, ‘but bears it out even to the edge of doom.’ We want to believe it. But for those who have lost love, the heroic words about everlastingness are mocked by the pain of unhealed hearts…The inescapable paradox of love is this: It is made precious by time, which threatens to destroy it. Only through loss can we love, but it is loss that wracks our heart… True love is the outgrowth of the ability to have faith…To love is to accept the possibility of suffering…The root of love is bound up with a knowledge of pain and a consciousness of loss.  In the end, such love connects us to God.” (Wolpe, 119.)

All who love know there is a measure of pain that accompany it. There is even secondary pain caused by watching someone you care about suffer. But we gladly pick up the broken pieces of our hearts and love again because the alternative is unthinkable. I think it’s the pain that makes you fully aware of the kind of love you have. In his book, The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis wrote,

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possible broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one...Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness...the alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell (Lewis, 121.)
In the end the choice of who we let guide, inspire, love, hurt, wound, change, and ultimately have our hearts is up to us. If you are given the opportunity to just sit and listen to someone cry please know you are sharing a precious moment. If you are allowed to be in the presence of someone who is struggling to understand the circumstances of their broken heart then please understand their trust. If you are allowed to catch a few fallen tears and bind up hurting heart then know you are being given a gift from God. These are the moments, raw, naked, and desperate, where lasting friendships and relationships are formed. These precious and rare moments are the makings of great men and women. To love is to hurt. To be with someone whose heart is healing is to feel their pain. I treasure the quiet nights when I’ve shared my room with a grieving heart, when I’ve sat in silence and listened to heart wrenching sobs, and the raw moments when I held my peace and just listened. In those moments—hard as they may be,  I realize I would rather love too much than not enough!

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