When you love, you lose. My neighbor just blurted out this wisdom yesterday in the midst of my impromptu processing (whining) of our most recent adventure (difficulty) in doing things normal (sane) people don’t do. As he said these words, a spiritual 2×4 came down from heaven and wacked me across the cranium. I realized that I have always done the hard and crazy things despite frequent fearful and sometimes wise warnings, knowing risk was present but optimistically planning to out-maneuver the pitfalls. I always wagered on winning. Faith. Hope. Courage. Stubbornness. Stupidity; I’m not sure what I am plagued with exactly. But rarely have I managed to avoid the pits- my humanity ensured gravity worked the same for me as for everyone one else. Usually while falling I suffered shock and disappointment, then after the hard landing came pain, anger and indignation.
Instead of playing the lottery or gambling with the odds of pain and loss, I need to just accept that love hurts. I’m going to lose. This may sound negative and depressing and you may accuse me of being a heretic, forgetting all the promises and power of God. Not true. I am convinced of His goodness and have experienced the marvelous ways He redeems all situations and people. I know that love wins and is the greatest power, but often in winning there is loss.
Falling in love and committing for life paves the way for losing. Humans will always disappoint us and with that comes the possibility of great pain. Tremendous suffering. On the other hand, being loved by my husband helped me lose a large stash of distrust and harbored bitterness. I lost some of my independence and stubbornness as I learned to trust. Motherhood made me lose sleep, peace, quiet, clean counters, money, position, sanity and my size 8 jeans. But I also lost a good dose of selfishness, loneliness, restlessness, idleness, confusion and ignorance. Losing may be one of the best things that happened to me.
Problem is, I have often chosen love as a gamble to win. I married because I expected to be loved, not left. I became a parent because I wanted the joy of raising children and someday experience an overflow of grandchildren I can cover with kisses and stuff with chocolate and cookies and send home. I can’t imagine losing one of them or watching them suffer terrible diseases. There is incredible risk in having a family- my heart will forever be vulnerable to any pain they experience. I donated a kidney, gambling that it would not be rejected and the recipient would live and I would not suffer its loss. We traveled to difficult places, exposed ourselves and our children to dangerous diseases, lived in community, gave up income, brought needy people into our home, did things we were not qualified to do- constant risk. I wish I could say it was all done in great faith and fueled by pure love, that I am brave and courageous and selfless. But my friend’s simple statement suddenly showed me the truth about myself. I have been more a gambler than a lover. This is why the losses have hurt and felt so personal. If I walked in mature love, I would be accepting and expectant of the losses. I wouldn’t sit in my pit and cry about it- I would climb out and get back to the business of love. I wouldn’t expect so much in return. It wouldn’t be all about me. I would love like Jesus- knowing it was going to be expensive and hurt like hell.
It’s time to go cold turkey and break off my gambling habit. No more casino hopping for me. No more Russian roulette decisions or black jack games of the heart. I’m a lover and a loser. His provision of life and love for me has allowed me to freely give it all away, but I feel like I just won the jackpot.