There have been several times in my life when I felt like my heart has been broken. Whether it was the divorce of my parents, the loss of someone I loved, the heartbreak of young love, or the break in my heart when I feel the injustice and inequality women face. Each time I have felt like my heart has been broken, I have been challenged to trust again and allow myself to learn how to love again.
When my parents divorced I felt like I had lost my parents. In some senses, I did lose the life I had known. It was hard to be caught in the middle between one parent and the other. The divorce made me suspicious of marriage, and while I always wanted to feel safe and loved, I did not know if I believed in marriage. I was challenged to grow in trust when I met my husband. If I had not learned to love again, I might have missed out on one of the greatest marriages in the world. We have only been married short of two years, but it has been one of the greatest blessings from God in my life.
When I lost people I loved, I was not always able to open up my heart again. I remember some of my first experiences with death. When my grandfather passed away, I felt numb. I was shocked, because I never thought my grandparents would die. Logically I knew death occurred, but in my heart I never wanted anyone to die. When my grandmother passed away, a sort of finality came with her passing. Now, both of my grandparents whom I loved and looked up to were gone. They were a constant source of strength for me, because they were consistent people of faith who believed in stability. After death, we are challenged to learn to love again, and to find a different sort of normal. Holidays, get-togethers, birthdays, and celebrations are never the same. Change becomes most evident in life when death occurs.
When my heart felt broken from young love, it was not easy to let go. There were times I felt I partly learned to love another. I was shy, and never could come out and tell someone I loved them. It was hard to let go, but I had to let go. Letting go is not always a pretty sight, and sometimes we break connections in the most abrupt manner because we do not know how to say good bye. Being a little older, I now know people come into our lives for moments and hours, and very few stay for days and years. The constant investment of loving can be challenging, but we must always be willing to learn to love again. Those who do not learn to love again often remain alone. Our hearts must remain open to love.
When my heart has been broken for women around the world and in the ages, I must remind myself to love. My eyes are open to the injustices and inequalities women face. I am not pointing fingers. I am stating a reality and truth. Women are faced with challenges which often elude men. Upon graduating from seminary, as a female, I was not offered a pastorate or other opportunities within my denomination. I have to constantly work to “prove” my worth, even though my worth is not based on my work. I know my worth is in God, and God sees me as worthy and called. However, I live and exist within human and societal structures of religion, which do not yet recognize the equality and justice Jesus Christ has brought to women. Other of my friends who were men were not offered positions per say, but there is a difference between a woman and man in my denomination. There are no women in higher leadership, such as district superintendents or on the executive board. It will take time to change. We need the voice of women in leadership. We need to use the gifts God has given to the church. I could become bitter, but I will not. I could become angry, and lash out like a hurt dog, but I will not. I could point fingers and place blame, but I will not. I will choose to love. I will choose to build bridges. I will choose to educate. I will choose to love again, because anger and bitterness destroy. I will continue to work in my calling, and believe the scripture for my gifts. I have not been called by women or men; I have been called by God. It is a holy calling, one I will take serious and will give my all.
So, how do we learn to love again? We have to take ourselves back to the cross of Jesus Christ. We lay ourselves before the almighty God, and pray for God to teach us how to love. We ask to learn how to love like the Creator and majestic God, without our human made conditions and limitations. We will have to continue to grow, because we will not attain all here on Earth. In the context of eternity, we will know the truest and greatest of love. But, we can and should strive for love again today. We must strive to have our hearts open. We must strive to love, even when others do not love. We can learn how to love again, but it will take time, dedication, and active pursuit.
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