When I started working in the human services field, I remember making a determination: the day I watch a kid cry and don't cry with them, that's the day I quit.
If I am numb and cynical, I am incapable of love. And love heals. Cynical distance can further wound. In all my feeble efforts, I want to love. More than anything.
But what I want and what I do aren't always identical twins. Sometimes they don't even look like siblings.
Rob Bell says that Jesus calls us to relinquish the things that keep us from his Kingdom, that He tirelessly works to prepare us to handle the perfection of a world that turns the right way.
Jesus called the rich man to generosity and sacrifice.
The stone-throwing Pharisees to empty hands and humbled hearts.
The soldiers from violence.
The woman at the well from serial relationships to a satisfying Love.
If I've been listening at all over the past year or two, Jesus insists that I give up my awesome, black-belt-level self-protection skills. Unlike karate black-belt, my relationship black-belt skill is disengagement. If hurt or misunderstood, I move to a safe distance faster than a speeding bullet. And initially, I give enough of myself to think I'm making a difference... loving... until my wariness is eased. All these self-defense maneuvers keep me checking my surroundings and watching my space and I end up thinking more about myself and whether things are going to turn out safely for me than I do about the other person. Love, by nature, requires a decreased self-consciousness... a focus on the good of the other.
All the seemingly arbitrary pieces of losses, gifts, fears, and hopes of late interlocked recently... and I realize...
It's for my own redemption as well as for others' that God blesses me with tears.