We were created to love with abandon. Abandon of safeguards and internal chokes. But we were also created to carry the healer inside us for those times when that love allows us to be hurt. One requires the other. Love, unrestrained, can leave us vulnerable to wounds so deep that they can only be healed by the love of God.
But we were created to love, endure wounds, and to be healed. Not to build up scar tissue around the part of us that most resembles our creator.
Yesterday, my 11 month old baby boy pulled a wooden stool down on top of his head as he fell backwards onto our hardwood floors. I ran upstairs to find him in my wife’s arms crying.
Then he stopped. His little head rested against her chest, and those normally sparkling eyes slowly closed. And my heart nearly stopped as my wife cried out “Why isn’t he crying?”
In that moment, I felt an indescribable fear, a prelude to the pain that would certainly follow if those eyes did not open again.
40 minutes late, as we left the ER, it was very clear that he was fine. But I was not.
Several month into our journey as parents, I laid awake at night, staring at the ceiling, feeling an anxiety similar to what a skydiver must feel before leaping from a plane. It’s the anxiety you feel knowing that you’re engaging in something you love, but knowing that you’re also exposing yourself to the very real danger of being hurt.
Having a son has uncovered some very tender parts of my heart. There are times when I hold him that I feel my chest might burst with happiness. It’s more powerful than how I felt when I got married.
That’s because my heart was not always so free to love recklessly.
As a teenager, I was a drama king, and had no idea what depression was. I went through numerous emotionally taxing relationships. Upon graduating college, I quickly experienced another gut wrenching disappointment, and began to build up my defenses. Protecting myself from getting hurt again.
By the time I reached 26, my heart was so callous I could barely feel any emotions resembling the love that had allowed me to get so scarred. Then I met the woman I knew would become my wife.
My heart slowly began to thaw as I approached my wedding day. I wrote a song to propose to her, and as I wrote it, I spent more than an hour in tears, as I felt the flow of emotion that had long been absent.
As I played it for her, more tears flowed. Tears that she didn’t fully understand, and that I am only now starting to understand myself. There were several times over the next year where my heart seemed to melt a bit more.
By the time my son was born, my heart seemed free of the callous scar tissue that had once protected me from getting hurt. And the emotions flowed freely. It has been wonderful.
But as I lie awake staring at the ceiling, I considered the possibility that I could lose both of them. A small voice told me that unless I kept myself from loving too much, I would certainly be hurt so deeply by that situation, I could not fathom the pain that would follow.
Think deeply about that. I was scared of loving my wife and son too much because of how bad it would hurt if I lost them.
It’s the same feeling that caused me to begin building up scar tissue around the hurt areas following my stream of hurtful relationships. An effort to protect myself from future wounds.
But what I didn’t realize then was that scar tissue prevents as much as it protects. To experience love requires sensitivity, and scar tissue that protects you from hurt, also prevents you from feeling, even when you want to.
That night, I realized something profound.
If the worst happened, if I lost those that I loved so much, my biggest regret would be that I didn’t get and express as much love as I could possibly could while I had the chance.
The Point Of No Return
The little scare with our son reminded me of that truth. I am in this too deep to back up. I am hopelessly in love with my wife and my son. If something happens to them, I am without a backup plan. I am vulnerable because I love them.
I was created to love them recklessly, without restraint, and without anything protecting me from hurt. I was also created to carry inside me the one who can heal any wound, and the one who pours out the love that flows through me as I love them.
Living a safe life by restraining our love is not living. It’s survival. We were not created to simply survive, we were created to live. To love. To hurt. And to heal. So if you’ve been protecting your heart because you’ve been hurt, consider taking your foot off the brake, give Jesus the drivers seat, and love like you were created to do.