Is Love Worth the Pain?

For the first year and a half, I called out her name. 

Over and over again, I would startle myself awake once I had barely fallen asleep. My arm would shoot out from my body in a desperate attempt to stop her, to catch her, to convince her to stay—the shout of her name went shooting through my lips with an angst deep within my soul. All those nights I lay waiting for sleep, trying to absorb this new reality: That place of darkness, of mourning, of waiting. That place where I was buried deep beneath the soil—desperate for air, for light, for breath, for life. 

There was life once; out in the sun, reaching tall and high and confident like a sunflower. There I lived life fully and gave it equally away. But in this season my stalk lost its strength. My head, once sunward, drooped down to the earth. Seeds fell from my face in the form of encapsulated tears and found themselves buried deep within the soil. I thought I was dead—that my life and love might come to an end. Here, I could barely remember what the sun felt like on my face. Here, where life and memories of it felt so far away, I began to wonder if love was ever worth the pain. 

I settled somewhere between wanting to close my eyes forever and silently begging for warmth again.

This was my home for over two years, stuck in the cold, dark stillness of rich dirt and manure. I settled somewhere between wanting to close my eyes forever and silently begging for warmth again. As I lay there in the fetal position, I really wasn’t sure whether I was curling up to die or waiting to be born. I longed for life, for laughter, for dancing—but it all seemed so far out of reach, like a forgotten fairy tale. Life around me just kept speeding by. My kids were growing and I wanted to be fully present, but I stayed buried below.  

For the first months, I lie there in my casing cold, hard, strong. Then I felt a change in the soil beckoning me to break open. The sun’s rays reached in deep to touch me, awakening me with its warmth. It was here, in this vulnerable place, when I stopped blocking my tears and guarding my love, that I broke open. Intimacy birthed a vibrant, green sprout prying its little head out of my broken seed. My tears, once preserved, became the water and minerals that fed this little sprout—ushering it slowly through the dirt to warmth and all that was promised on the other side.  

Here I stand—this hungry little plant pushing through, stretching out, reaching up, starting fresh. I’m not where I once was, but I feel surges of life again. I hear my own laughter in my ears. I’ll never look exactly like I did before I was buried in grief and waiting to be reborn. But I can’t help but feel that my roots have dug a little deeper, that my stalk feels thicker and my head is raised a little higher. And my arms are reaching out so much further.

Is love worth the pain? It is. Pain is inevitable in this life, whether we lose loved ones or have our hearts broken in other ways. Thank God that love never dies, or we would never have the hope of breaking through those deep, dark places. Like the tiny packet of life that is held tightly within a seed, brokenness is not the end but the very beginning of something new.

Amanda Wise
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