better to have loved

I was chatting to our youngest son Isaac today about having a horse of his own. He loves these amazing, majestic animals and would spend all day, every day at the stables with them if he could.

However today Isaac was discussing the fact that horses don’t live as long as humans and therefore he would outlive any horse he ever owned. As he was talking I could see the realisation of the pain of loss his heart would inevitably face, dawn upon him. “Perhaps I shouldn’t get a horse”, he said with tears starting to well up in his eyes. “Maybe that would be too painful”. 

As Isaac spoke to me I was reminded of when I was five years old and my younger brother Shaun was born. I can still vividly remember meeting him for the first time as he was wheeled out into the hospital corridor so I could look at him as he lay sleeping in his cradle. As he grew up my brother became someone I spent a lot of time with, as we played together exploring, climbing trees and riding our bikes. I would read outloud to him and my sister for hours, until my voice was hoarse. As a teenager Shaun would stay with my husband and I on weekends, which then eventually turned into him living with us full time. We would stay up till the early hours of the morning talking with him and his friends as we all shared together our hopes, dreams, and what Jesus was doing in our lives. Then suddenly on a routine flight to work, Shaun’s plane crashed and my little brother, with his stock of red hair, giant feet, smiles and big hugs was not longer with us.

It’s nearly 20 years since Shaun graduated to heaven and I still miss hearing him walk in through our door, playing hide and seek with our kids and sitting around the dinner table sharing stories. Yet as I thought about Isaac’s question today and whether you are better off not loving someone because you might lose them, I knew what my answer would be. I agreed with Isaac that loving someone deeply will often have pain involved. Loving can hurt. But then I asked, “isn’t it better to have had the chance to know, care for, and love someone deeply, rather than not experiencing them in your life at all? Isn’t it worth the risk to have them in your world, even if only for a short time?

True love won’t ever destroy or harm us. It is painful when we experience loss, but it will never destroy us if it comes from a place of purity, truth and the giving of ourselves. Even if lost, that sort of love (once the pain of loss has been given time to heal), can’t help but enrich and impact our life for good.

I love my brother Shaun very much, and as I write this there is still the sting of not having shared the last 20 years with him as I might have liked. However I would never trade the bond we share, nor the memories I have of being his big sister. Loving him, and even missing him has helped make me who I am, and in that I see that love – real, God inspired love, never fails.

As I finished talking with our sensitive and lovely young son Isaac, he looked up at me and quietly agreed that, “Yes it would be better to take the risk to love someone if he had the chance, rather than miss out on all that knowing and loving could mean”. And so he decided, he will continue to pray for and believe for a horse of his own to love after all.

I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it when I sorrow most;’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” (Alfred Tennyson)

So in conclusion I have come to believe that true love never fails. If when we love it hurts in some way, we will have to travel through the pain of it. But with Jesus governing over our hearts and walking with us, we will never be the lesser for it. Given the choice in life, take the chance and love.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away….And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you watch over my heart. Please help me to be open to the risk of loving someone, and to understand that love with you as it’s source, never fails or will deplete us. Please fill me with your love today and mend and heal any of my brokenness so that I can love freely. In Jesus name Amen.