The Joy of Loving

My amazing sister Emily sent me Bread for the Journey, By Henri Nouwen, for my birthday the other day. It's basically a devotional and has a short blurb for everyday of the year. The one for today was almost scarily relevant.

"Love and the Pain of Leaving"
"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. The greatest pain comes from leaving. 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 the 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 stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking (Nouwen, August 25)."

I read this passage this morning and was shocked by how much it applied to my life right now. I ran screaming to my brother and read it aloud to him, shaking. I've started to say goodbye this weekend, and it's all just been so sad and overwhelming, but I've realized that it's almost a good thing. It's hard to say goodbye because I love each and every one of you so much. I am beyond blessed with absolutely amazing friends and family that support me every step of the way. As Nouwen said, "Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving (August 25)." I have experienced the beautiful joy of loving and would not trade that for any amount of suffering. I want to thank everyone out there reading this blog, because it is you that has made these past 16 years of my life full of love and endless joy.

MLA citation just to be careful...
Nouwen, Henri. Bread for the Journey. New York: Harper Collins, 2006. Print


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