Who said love didn't hurt?

If the tears that I've cried the last month could tell a story in their puddles, you'd most assuredly see that love, while beautiful comes with pain.

I've cried with the staff of Honduras' and Kenya's Feed the Children's employees and the children who are part of these very special programs. IMG_4866

I've cried with the friends I've made in Oklahoma City.

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I've cried with the members of the The Federated Church in Weatherford, OK

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(I've come to be ok with the fact that I'm just a crier. If I love you, you most certainly are going to see it on my face). 

It's a season of transition for the Hagan household and as we move through the changes of jobs and geographic locations. Kevin started his new job with the American Diabetes Association Monday. And I'm dreaming and organizing myself toward the things yet to come in the DC area (and beyond?)

And in all of this, I'm very aware of how the greatest problem of love, and it's vulnerability.

Especially describing my tenure as Interim Pastor of The Federated Church in Weatherford, OK, I characterize it by one word: love. My heart was out on the table and so was theirs. And together, we shared something beautiful.  We both reminded one another how good it can to serve the mission of Christ's church. I don't think either one of us is leaving the same way than when we first met.

This week, I attended a 3 day training presented by the Interim Ministry Network (IMN) because interim pastorates is something I'd like to do a lot more of in the future. Over the course of the training, my colleagues and I talked a lot about the nature of leadership, especially in the context of short-term tenures. 

In one such conversation, a colleague and I discussed: "What are the values are the 'must haves' in your ministry?"

And for me the answer came quickly, "I want to work with congregations who know and love one another well." For, truly, I don't know any other way to lead. And, I don't know any other way to help congregations "be church."

But then this leaves me (us) with love's great problem: vulnerability.

Love will hurt.

A dear friend and I were chatting over email this week and she sent this quote to me from C.S. Lewis' book The Four Loves. I couldn't help but share it here:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

So, all of us have the choice, don't we? We can move through life with love-- though love will most certainly break our hearts. Or we can close ourselves off and die. And really, who wants to die if they don't have to?

Author and Christian Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom has a lot to say about this too. I find her words here really helpful:

“Do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.”

So, as I continue to look for ways for our love to travel to the places where it most wants to go-- to our dear friends in Oklahoma that will continue to make the journey with us and the amazing kids of the children's centers in Honduras and Kenya-- I'll do so with a little bit of sadness but most of all gratitude.

For, isn't the point of life to love enough that you HAVE something to cry about? With all my wet tissues, I am a blessed woman!