|Maple leaf from my driveway|
One of the hardest things we've had to do was putting our dog So-fee down. She developed a urinary blockage, which was untreatable. I hated the day we brought her to the vet and said good-bye.
We suffered much that day. We suffered much, because we loved much. Only those that love much, suffer much.
When you don't love, you don't suffer. The closer you are to someone spiritually and emotionally, the more you feel with them. This is why those who love others weep when others weep, and rejoice when others rejoice.
This past August Linda and I celebrated forty-five years together. We rejoiced together, because we love each other! Over the years we have laughed much, and suffered much, together. She enters into my pain and joy, and I enter into hers. Love embraces both the struggle and the victory.
This produces a bountiful fruit of a love that is fully exemplified in Christ. In love, Jesus suffered. In suffering, Jesus loved. If this isn't happening, then it's less than love.
Will Hernandez tells us about Henri Nouwen's understanding of suffering love. Hernandez writes:
"Much can be said about the aphorism that the one who loves much suffers much. For to surrender to love is akin to risking, to letting go of one’s proclivity to control, thereby opening oneself to vulnerable living, and consequently inviting the real prospect of suffering. It is equally accurate to say that only one who has known the experience of deep suffering can freely love and give love with true abandon. If suffering happens to be the consequence of true love, then that same love also becomes the fruit of real suffering. [Henri] Nouwen, from his own experience, reminds you and me: “Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear” (IVL:60)." (Will Hernandez, Henri Nouwen and Spiritual Polarities: A Life of Tension, Kindle Locations 238-242)
My two books are:
Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (May 2016)
Leading the Presence-Driven Church (January 2018)
I am now writing:
How God Changes the Human Heart
Technology and Spiritual Formation
Linda and I plan to co-write our book on Relationships.