As you read this, I will have just rescued a new dog. Our Jacoby, a 13-year-old basset, passed away about a month and a half ago. Even typing that makes my heart ache all over again. Our nine-year-old dog has been so depressed since her brother passed away that we did not want to wait much longer to adopt again because we were worried about her heart.
As I took out Jacoby’s leash to get it ready for Cosmo (our new dog-named after Cosmo the space dog from “Guardians of the Galaxy,” for all my fellow Marvel fans!), I felt the pain in my heart renewed. It was a pain that reminded me that I did not feel ready to love again. Sometimes though, for the betterment of another, we are called to love even when it hurts. Christ reminds us of this.
As He journeyed to the cross, he walked by the women who were visibly upset. He stopped, amidst His own pain and heartache, to comfort the women. He shows us that even when we are hurt, even in the middle of our own pain, we are still made with hearts that are called to love.
The Bible reminds us of this. In Proverbs we read, “A friend loves at all times.” (Prov 17:17). All is the important word in this passage. We are not just made to love in good times or in easy times, but in all times. I have come to understand that loving someone, doing good for someone, helps to heal our own hearts. St. Paul reminds us that “Love bears all things, believes all things,hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7). Scripture never tells us that love is easy. It has to bear, hope, believe and endure. When we do all this, we look beyond our own brokenness and start to see there is healing in hurt.
Author H.C. Paye once wrote, “I’d rather love a million times and have my heart broken every time than hold a permanently empty heart forever.” Having love in our hearts also means carrying pain in our hearts. This is what makes love so worth it.
Loving someone or something so much that the pain of their absence reminds us that we need to keep loving and filling our heart. Love in a time of heartache is just love. There will always be something that we miss, or long for, or hurt from, all because we first loved.
Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at email@example.com.