A few years ago I officiated the funeral for my mother in law on Valentines Day. This weekend I will attend the funeral of a long time friend and co-worker. I've been thinking about how love and loss seem to be eternally linked. After all next month we will celebrate the greatest demonstration of love accomplished through a death. When Jesus chose to love us, he chose to lose quite a bit. Maybe that truth sits in the depths of our soul and that's why we reject the idealistic, sometimes shallow expression of "Valentine" love every February.
When we choose to love, we choose to lose. Can we celebrate that definition this year?
When I love I lose condemnation and I choose to speak belief.
When I love I lose my memory for mistakes and choose to remember the best.
When I love I lose my rights and I choose carefully my fights.
When I love I lose my expectations of man and I choose to hope in God.
When I love I lose the option of failure and choose a love that never fails.
When I love I lose my freedom to walk away and I choose to stay when I want to run from the hard times, unemployment lines, betrayals, disappointments, moments of dread and hospital beds.
There is nothing shallow about true love. It is selfless, demanding, infuriating, messy and exhausting. But it is also beautiful, strengthening, life-giving and joyful. Without this complicated love and its power we would all be nothing. With this love we can stand by gravesides and know that long past the time we lose our "loves" who carried our hearts with theirs the strength of love well-lived never dies.