Dare to allow love to be stronger in you than the fear of the pain that comes with truly caring. You will unravel a radiant freedom within yourself.
My body miscarried and rejected our first baby.
We wanted that baby. We hoped for that baby. We prayed for that baby. We celebrated that baby. We cried tears of joy and danced celebration for that baby. That baby, Blake, left my womb too soon and we had to say goodbye before we really said hello. That baby, so precious, so loved, so wanted...I believe will one day introduce his family to Jesus.
The amount of times my wounds were washed over with the words, "It wasn't meant to be," "At least you know you can get pregnant," "Maybe something was wrong with that baby," "You were barely pregnant," "Jesus is all you need," etcetera etcetera befuddles me.
Those responses, intended at face value to comfort, only further ripped the existing tear of my raw heart. The words were product of protection, tho the self-protector may have been oblivious. Whether their intent was to soften the blow my heart was enduring or lift the weight my pain was inviting them into, there remained a level of self-protection and in that, a push back to truly caring. An [oblivious, hopefully] avoidance of deeply loving.
I felt most loved, most validated, most seen and understood when friends responded to our loss with tears and listening ears, patiently sitting with us while we felt so many feelings. The range of emotions was all-consuming, over powering, taking over most of my mind's space. And there were those who dared to allow love to be stronger than the fear of their own pain, as they stepped into ours. It meant they quieted their voices and did their best to imagine wearing the experience that was ours, clothing themselves with the battle of heart's desire versus flesh's failure, longing for parenthood versus losing parenthood, mourning the loss of not only our first bio baby, but also pausing our adoption journey because of life created in my womb. It meant they pushed passed the fear of pain and pain itself, entering into the broken bits of our hearts. Shared tears are holy tears. And we are a privileged family to have some friends who will share in our tears.
Too often we respond to other's loss/tragedy/oppression/experiences with a heart that fears pain, producing shallow or hurtful or judge-mental responses [sometimes even seeping with hate].
Pain is uncomfortable. We avoid pain. Pain isn't fun. But in sharing in pain, love is discovered and the freedom of truly caring is unraveled. There is freedom to be found in these spaces of pain and caring.
I was once so overwhelmed by the big-ness of our refugee crisis, I avoided it. I knew the pain of their reality was too much for me. But then one of our best friends became a refugee caseworker and invited us into caring. We have so much to learn, we understand so little, if anything. But our hearts have discovered a pain-filled-joy in allowing our minuscule selves to see faces and stories behind numbers. Caring about refugees revealed our ignorance, demanding questions needing answers...questions and answers that are weighty in the painful ways. I have so many questions and so few answers, but I care and will do my best to enter the pain-filled-love.
Loving deeply means keeping our [privileged] thoughts and assumptions quiet and instead envisioning the reality of others. Listening and truly hearing, truly caring, putting on their reality as best as you can, attempting to understand.
Love, though weighty, is a freeing adventure, friends. Even love drenched in fear and unknowns and pain.
Whether it be a conversation about or reality of infertility, miscarriage, abortion, the life of a refugee/immigrant [these numbers have faces], people experiencing homelessness, autoimmune disease + chronic pain, being burned and betrayed by loved ones, racism, an injured soul, a hurt spouse, or seemingly-simple stories being shared over sipped coffee... we each have a decision to make in those very moments to self-protect [out of fear of pain] or to truly care and in that, love deeply.
What or whom are you fearful of caring about and for? This is a question I believe we all must honestly ask ourselves [in simple conversations & current politics & real life relationships], a reality we must discover, if we want to live the way that He lived: relentlessly pursuing love, justice, and people in scandalous ways.
Dare to allow love to be stronger in you than the fear of the pain that comes with truly caring. Let the caring-pain wash over you. You will unravel a radiant freedom within yourself.
Learning to love like Him, NB