No Fear in Love
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, my little one, and while I’ve never been nostalgic over this commercial holiday, I thought I’d share with you some truths I’ve learned about love since you’ve been gone.
I find it ironic that Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year...a day of fasting, which will lead us into the penitential and sacrificial season of Lent. A time of suffering.
In a way, I’ve been ready. Perhaps I’m ready to take the focus off of my suffering for a while. This season will lead us to the greatest act of love...Love crucified. I wait for the redemption, healing, and resurrection that will come after these 40 days. I wait for the Lord to be so close...to feel His kiss, to savor His blood and water as they wash over my brokenness. To be reminded...I am not alone. To remember that He has been broken, too. And that His mother also lost a child.
It’s been almost nine months since you’ve been gone. I’ve been living a Novena of suffering. I’ve been watching. Waiting. Living. Breathing. But I’ve also been loved.
When we lost you, friends and family ushered in close. They came to that dark hospital room. They prayed with us and over us. We were brought flowers and holy water. We were brought Holy Communion...Jesus came.
In those early months, we had visitors, and cards, and gifts, and financial support. We had meals for weeks. Your siblings were taken care of, treated to fun outings, and I was given time to grieve and rest. Your Daddy never left my side...not until I was ready.
I’ve learned that love means sacrifice. Love means letting others get close. Love finds you in your dark places. Love moves slowly.
I’ve learned that there is so much hurt, because there is so much love. That your existence is the reason for all of this pain. That grief is there, because my love cannot be given to you this side of heaven.
I’ve learned that love means losing. Love means giving. Love means taking risks. Love means putting your family first. Love means self care. Love is in the small things. Love is in the now.
I’ve learned that love is painful. And that when I open myself up, God moves into the shattered pieces of my heart and soul. And that it rips me open, but is addictive and necessary all at the same time. I’ve learned that His love brings me peace, even when I try to run from Him.
I’ve learned that love knows no time or age...that even your siblings can offer their empathy, their arms, and their tears.
I’ve learned that I’ve never really known what love was until you. And that I’ve been scared to let myself be loved for my whole life...and that is a lesson I continue to learn.
I’ve learned about your Daddy’s ability to love...it’s unwavering intensity. It’s constant flow. It’s endless depths. It’s humility and perseverance. It’s strength and fierceness. It’s broken places and sorrows. His remarkable love for you...his little girl. His deep love for me...his shattered wife.
I’ve learned that love means remembering. Love means feeling. Love means many endless tears and hard nights. Love means waking up every day and facing reality again. Love means saying your name. Love is looking at your picture, bringing flowers to your grave, talking to you, and talking about you. Love keeps moving forward.
Love means allowing my heart to open to your little brother. To letting myself hope for him, love him, and grow attached to him. Love means being open to life, but it also means being open to death.
I’ve learned that love does not come without hardships or consequences, but that it grows from places of pain. I’ve learned that love does not fear. Love keeps trying. Love keeps choosing. Love is relentless.
I’ve learned that love does not see the outcome, but love is the outcome. It sits with people in their suffering while your world is falling apart. It chooses compassion over sympathy. It extends grace to others who simply don’t get it. It chooses perseverance over pushing away. Silence over lashing out. It finds beauty amidst the pain.
Love means choosing...choosing to survive. Choosing to breathe. Choosing to wait. Choosing to hope. Choosing you. Love is a choice.
I’ve learned that you don’t have to hold on to what you love to love it with intensity. That love brims from the deepest desires of one’s Heart. That sometimes, when you risk love, you will be let down. That love moves through tears and anguish. That love can be a silent cry in the dark. That love can be anger for what could have been.
I’ve learned that love finds me. That you find me. That God finds me, for GOD IS LOVE.
And I’m learning that perfect love casts out fear...that there is no fear in love. And perhaps if there is fasting to be done...it can be from that. To fast from fear.
I am learning that your love is molding me and shaping me into someone new. That the old me is a discarded shell, and that’s simply okay. I’m learning that loving you came with a cost, but I would never change it.
I’m learning to love life in its current state...limitless, simple, and completely out of control. I’m learning to love slowing down. Savoring. Resting. Sitting. Existing. Being.
So these are just a few truths, my love. No doubt this will be a life long journey. A life of missing you...but a life of loving you. And loving what is to come.
I love you always.