Love, Loss and Lasting Lessons

There seems to be a corollary between the capacity to love and the capacity to experience hurt.

Anytime we love someone or some thing, we set ourselves up for potential pain of loss. It’s come home for me again in a powerful way.

Dooley, my good friend and canine companion died a couple of weeks ago. The big yellow lab was my faithful accomplice and constant companion as I did yard work or took walks in the wooded acreage down by Southmoon. I planted over a hundred trees and shrubs on our 3 acres with Dooley there each time to help dig the holes. He never failed to bark hello when I came up the driveway in my old red pickup. I never built a campfire that he didn’t enjoy twice as much as me. I miss him. He was only 7 years old. Too young. Too soon. Even in dog years.

I’ve been asked the same question others are asked when their pet dies. “Are you going to get another dog?” I must admit there is an empty place that makes me want to answer in the affirmative. But there is the vulnerable part of me that wants to be cautious and resist getting attached only to experience loss and grief all over again.

There is this human tendency in all of us to resist emotional attachments when we have been hurt.

So we detach.

We distance ourselves from intimacy.

We take the “safe” course….or so it would seem.

But what is life without love? If we build a protective hedge around our heart, what will be the potential for joy and fulfillment?

Having been a pastor here at Oakhaven for 30 years, I’ve said good-bye to a lot of people who owned a little of my heart. Some of them owned a lot of my heart.

As a result I have developed this tendency to limit my attachment to new people who have more recently come into my life. I know there is a possibility that they will someday be transferred away or move on to follow the course God has for their lives.

So I find myself resisting the vulnerability of love. But then a funny thing happened. God chose to speak to that empty place in my heart as I read the Bible recently.

I was reminded that God is preparing a place for us to be compensated for any emptiness we might encounter in this life.

He has readied a rallying place for all those to whom we have said “good-bye”.

A place where a heavenly “hello” will be the abiding reality.

John 14: 1-4 says God has prepared a place for us. A place with “many rooms”. I’m guessing that if I can give it up in this life, God has all those rooms furnished with more than enough to compensate for any loss I have temporarily sustained. I admit, I really don’t understand all there is to know about heaven. I’m glad I don’t. But what I anticipate is that there is abundance there.

The outcome of all this is that I’ve decided to keep loving.

If loving means potential heartbreak, I realize this is only temporary. My Heavenly Father can more than make up for any losses I sustain.

And that corollary I mentioned earlier between the capacity to love and potential to experience loss…….

There is another corollary. There is a correlation between capacity to love and the capacity to experience joy.

It would be joyless indeed to shield ourselves from intimacy and loving relationships. It would not be heaven. It would be hell.

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About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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One Response to Love, Loss and Lasting Lessons

  1. Matt says:

    Glad to see we can learn and grow in even the though times.

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