All who love will lose.
CS Lewis, who I think missed much about love, got this right:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.” (The Four Loves)
Friends will fail you – not to mention themselves. Lovers will leave. The life you love will through you a curve ball. (And then another.)
Even God will disappoint – silent when shouting is called for, holding back when intervention is needed, just letting us royally mess things up.
There is still love. It is never really love that betrays us.
Friends will still be there, even if they are new ones. Lovers show us more of ourselves and the possibilities of life. The life you love is recreated again and again.
Resurrection will always come.
And in the silence of God there are still such gifts. The sun, still obeying the word that first made it shine. Rain, still watering everything. Beauty, stubbornly decorating the world. Breath, still filling lungs when we have forgotten how. Love, still rising in the most unexpected places and ways.
The true risk of love is not in losing, but in forgetting.
Forgetting the warmth of the sun in the frigid dark of winter. Forgetting what once made us smile. Forgetting the joy, the exhilarating beauty of actually living. Forgetting what delighted us in the sheer otherness of another. Forgetting the gifts we have received.
Even when they are gone, they are no less gifts. And when they are gone, there are more to receive.
Because love is always giving. It is not a limited resource. We cannot give it all away, and there will always be more to find. In every ending, there is a beginning. One of the saints said that.
In Advent, as the Christian year is both ended and begun, Jesus is proclaimed Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end. I think perhaps I always took that too linearly. Perhaps it means that they come together, beginning and ending. That in every beginning there is an ending, and in every ending, a beginning.
God is love – both beginning and ending and ending and beginning. But never leaving.
The world and us – we are full of such possibility, beyond what we can conceive. Love won’t forget.