Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we love most cause us not only great joy, but also great pain. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies – the pain of leaving can tear us apart. Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life is stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking. – Henri J.M. Nouwen
Each time I’m at a ‘good-bye’, this thought comes to mind. I’ll admit I didn’t have Nouwen’s words in my head in highschool when I graduated and was devastated to leave my friends. But I consciously made an effort to open my heart up again. That even in the saying of “good-bye”, I’d allow myself to experience the depth and breadth of that goodbye space. Let’s be realistic – the more you love, the more it hurts when you leave right?
No. I disagree. The sadness that we feel at goodbye is rather a celebration of the life we experience in the “Hello”, the “How are you?’ and the “Let’s have an adventure!” The sadness we see at a ‘see-you-later’ hug only highlights the joy we’ve been at the bar-stool chat in your kitchen, the cup-hugging talk on the couch, or the walk across the field. My cup truly overflows, as so many hearts add richly to my life. I hope you realize fully the joy of loving. Of risking yourself. It’s an arms-open embrace. It’s a head-tilted back laugh. The urdhva hastasana with your arms wide and relaxed. There’s a deep sigh.True Life. An infinite acceptance.
Risk relationships. Risk opening your heart. Renounce lies; speak the truth. Bring out your true self. Introduce her (him) to the people you’re blessed to share your life with. Live deep. Live unguarded, engaged, and fully present. Live intentionally.