Someone To Love
I had a friend tell me today, "I don't know of any pastors who are really happy." That got me thinking about myself... again. We'd been talking about how the church is a wonderful source of fellowship, support and even joy, but at the same time it is a source of incredible struggle, sorrow and pain. We seem to always experience the loss of friendships, the severance of relationships, the drifting away of loved ones. It doesn't matter which way you skin this cat... it always hurts. I suppose I could rise above it in some seraphic and heartless meditative trance and be immune to the complexities of love and relationship... to, in some gnostic way, float above the entanglements of the flesh. But that doesn't seem human to me. This is the cost of love: the risk of loss. To love someone unreservedly contains the risk of losing that person. Lisa and I realized years ago that having children complicated our lives because it meant more people to give your heart to without reserve and that, in its very self, consisted of the risk of pain and loss. As they grew older and started leaving home we thought it would get easier. But it didn't. It meant that their struggles and sorrows became more serious. And as they started to give their heart to others, such as their girlfriends, it invited us to give our hearts to them too. So our hearts continue to stretch and stretch in love to more and more people, which means, inevitably, that our hearts will not only experience more love but more brokenness. The same with our church community. I see why some people refuse to invest in community at a deeply relational level. It will mean pain. Love hurts. Love cuts like a knife. We instinctively know it and so instinctively resist it. But my friend saying that there aren't many happy pastors made me realize that even though this hurts, even though it cuts like a knife, even though this whole church scene has forever complicated my life and irreparably wounded my heart, there is love. I love! I am loved! And that is a precious, precious thing. The whole story of the incarnation breathes this very truth... that the staggering cost is worth the price. I agree. Love in a community context, though often complicated, exhausting and agonizing, is still, in the end, love. And I have to finally surrender and admit: I wouldn't have it any other way. So, David, since you have made the choice to love and be loved, make the choice to rejoice! Because you've finally received what you've always wanted. Someone to love.