Is Love Worth the Pain?

We grieve because we love.

I learned a lot from grief.  I learned that my identity was as a wife, a mother and a daughter.  When I lost my husband, and later my dad, a lot of what made me feel whole seemed to disappear.  For years, I submerged myself in my role as “mom”.   I needed my kids as much as they needed me.  As they grew up and moved on with their lives, I again lost my touch point, my anchor.  Where did I belong?  How would I make a difference?  It was a struggle.  I forgot what it meant to be just “me”. 

Have you ever felt the effects of too much caffeine?  That jumpy, panicky feeling became normal for me.  Most days, I felt like I need to crawl out of my own skin.   On the days when my kids weren’t around or I didn’t have to work, I stayed in bed.  It was easier to sleep than to face my reality.   I didn’t keep up with my house or my yard.  I avoided being at home as much as I could.  I didn’t know how to ask for help.  I didn’t know if there was any help.  I was overwhelmed.  I was supposed to be strong and I was embarrassed to admit that I was failing in every area.  I just tried to keep my head above water. 

I lived this way for almost 10 years.  I knew I had to get used to my new “normal” and believed that I had dealt with my grief.  I helped with grief recovery groups.  I put on a good face.  I didn’t realize that I was living with depression.  All the things that had given my life meaning seemed to be disappearing.  My son and daughter didn’t need a hands-on mom.  I had accepted that I would live out the rest of my life alone.   It had been long enough.  I had to get over it all.  I had to close the door on the part of my life that wanted to be loved and accepted.

But, I had a friend that listened to me.  A friend heard what I said and what I didn’t really want heard.  He asked questions I didn’t want to answer.  He probed into areas that were off-limits.  He recommended counseling.  He encouraged me to trust again.  He challenged me to open the doors that I had closed and sort through those emotions and dreams.  He waited patiently to be allowed into all areas of my life. 

There are many that question the choices I’ve made over the last four years.   And, there are those that frankly, just disapprove of the life I now have.  I’ve heard the whispers and I’ve seen the looks.   I don’t have any doubts that I am exactly where I need to be.  I married my dearest friend.  I have never felt safer or more secure.  I am loved deeply and completely.  Our life is not without its challenges and frustrations, but we face them together. 

I have learned that grief is love turned upside down.  I will never give up the opportunity to experience a deep and passionate love in order to avoid the pain of grief.  Love is worth EVERYTHING!

Coffee for your Heart: You’re Loved

This week I’m joining Holley Gerth on her website with Coffee for Your Heart. The directions are simple: Write a blog post on the theme and link it up here at on Wednesday. Or if you don’t have a blog, you can post on facebook, twitter, or simply share a comment. This Week’s writing prompt: You’re Loved.

Love. We want it. We crave it. We pursue. We dream about it. And often, we take advantage of it and even abuse it.

Those first pangs of being “in love” are so exciting. You can hardly breathe when you are separated from your beloved and it’s even harder when they are in the same room. Life seems to flit by as you soak up those “love” feelings. But, after that initial excitement, life becomes normal again and slows to a calmer pace. Now what? There are a few options. The one touted by the world around us is to move on and find those exciting “in love” feelings with another. But the best option is to work to find the deep, soul changing love about which so many songs are written.

I will never forget walking out of that hospital room after saying good-bye to my husband for the last time. I came face to face with a line of people that loved and cared for me and for my family. It was two o’clock in the morning, but the calls had gone out and they were there to offer hugs and tears and love. I was told over and over, “He loved you so much!” And in the days that followed, as grief gripped my heart and threatened to take my sanity, I would hear those words over and over “He loved you so much!” I would see demonstrations of love from so many facets of my world. In the midst of the most world shattering event of my life, I knew I was loved. I

This kind of deep love and caring doesn’t come easily. It takes effort and tears and compromise and struggles to fit together seemingly similar but still very different people. There were days it seems easier to walk away than to keep trying. But, the results are so worth the effort. After all we all want love, right?

Through the years, I’ve struggled with being loved. Is it even possible to love someone as broken as me? I did a lot of searching in a lot of different places trying to feel loved. And when I finally calmed down and was quiet enough to listen, I heard a familiar voice saying “Don’t be afraid. You are loved.” As much as I loved my husband, as much as I still love my children, my family and my friends, there is no comparison to the love that God has for me. I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God loves me enough to know everything about me. He pays attention to the smallest details of my life. He LOVES me.

In those darkest times when nothing seems right. In those moments of complete desolation and grief, read the first 18 verses of Psalm 139. Remember that you are WONDERFUL. You are LOVED.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. (Psalm 139:1-18 NIV)