Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What is the answer?

These last two years has been marked with loss for our family.  On the surface, the obvious ones are the loss of my aunt two years ago, followed by the loss of my mom, her only sibling, four months later.  And just 4 days ago, my father-in-law left this earth for his home in heaven.  In the time between these deaths, my little circle of friends and I have been surrounded by many other losses.  Not to a physical death necessarily (though that has happened).  There has been a death of a dream.  A mom’s persistent cancer.  Unmet expectations.  Dementia. We grieve bad choices our kids make, our hearts ache for something more than the mundane that seems to be our lives, we get consumed by fear because of current events.  What is our response?  How do we handle all that life throws our way? Just yesterday another friend shared devastating news that left me breathless and weeping.  Life is just not fair. It seems to be a grand idea to move to Montana and hide in a cabin alone, untouched by the cares of this world. Wrap up my little broken heart and keep it from experiencing loss or pain, and hide it under my pillow.  That seems reasonable right? 

I have been making my way through the book, A Grace Disguised.  The author Gerald Sittser experienced horrific loss when a car accident resulted in the loss of his mother, his wife, and his young daughter. This is from the chapter I am reading:

“The problem of choosing to love again is that the choice to love means living under the constant threat of further loss.  But the problem of choosing not to love is that the choice to turn from love means imperiling the life of the soul, for the soul thrives in an environment of love.  Soul-full people love, soul-less people do not.  If people want their soul to grow through loss, whatever the loss is, they must eventually decide to love even more deeply than they did before.  They must respond to the loss by embracing love with renewed energy and commitment.”

Did you catch that?  The soul thrives in an environment of love.  Is your soul downcast?  Choose love.  Are you experiencing grief so deep your heart aches?  Let love revive your heart.  Do the cares of this world blur your vision of your purpose? Your mission, if you choose, is love. What if the cure for a broken heart is to expose it to the possibility of more pain? It seems contradictory to our human nature.  We hurt, so our natural response would be to choose not to love again.  But I wonder if God’s remedy is to love even deeper, even wider. 

1 John 4:11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”    We have broken God’s heart over and over and over again, from the very beginning. No one’s heart can be more broken than His.  Yet He always chooses love.  And how deep the Father’s love for us! 

So with the full knowledge that my heart will break again, that there will be further loss, I am going to choose love.  I am going to stay in relationships with broken-hearted people, because God is near to the broken-hearted and I want to be near God.  I will keep imperfect relationships and choose forgiveness because God has forgiven imperfect me.  And on days that I want to run away and hide I will choose love, because He first loved me.  That little cabin in Montana probably has bats anyway.