4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Have you ever noticed that it doesn't say "And love will NEVER hurt" We all have stories of how we've been hurt by loved ones, it's just a part of life. I find verse 8 interesting because I think we could all say that at one time or another love has failed......but NOT HIS love, human love.
Anytime we get hurt by love or from loving someone, what do we do? We pull away; we put our hearts in a safe and don't give the code to ANYONE. We become determined to protect ourselves.....most of all to protect our hearts. I'm finding that this is NOT possible in ministry....or in life in general.
I'm reading Henri Nouwen's book "The Inner Voice of Love" and I have decided that I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love it because he has some very beautiful words to share and says them in such a way that you can relate. But I hate it sometimes because it challenges me, it makes me look in the mirror and see not only faults but ways to improve. And to be honest, most of the time.....it's not easy to change who you are or who you've become.
Ok, so back to love. I want to share with you what Henri has to say about loving deeply. He says "Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful.
It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pan of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decided not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.
The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because of love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. They will become part of your self and thus gradually build a community within you.
Those you have deeply loved become part of you. The longer you live; there will always be more people to be loved by you and to become part of your inner community. The wider the community of your heart, the wider the community around you. Thus the pain of rejection, absence, and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear."
There's really not much else to say after that......except just keep making your circle bigger! Continue to love and love deeply......even when it hurts.
In His love and mine, Brittany