Stubborn Love

Several years ago at my ex-niece's (I find there are no proper names for family members who were a part of my life for almost two decades, but are not any more) wedding I was introduced to the music group The Lumineers when they played their song Ho Hey ("I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart") in a sideshow about the groom's mom who had passed away when he was young. I've since found the raw vocals and haunting lyrics of The Lumineers poignant at many times in my life. Though I'm older than their target audience sometimes the songs feel like a soundtrack to dating as a middle-aged man.

I've made many mistakes in relationships in the past. I fully own that. Some were because of my own issues which got in the way of a health relationship, some were from poor decisions, and some were just because of blindness. But I've hurt others, and gotten hurt in the process. My sister pointed out to me recently that I'm a lover--that loving others is part of my DNA, and I desire the romantic relationship. I'm not always good with my feelings, but I'm usually pretty good at knowing love. Of course, love is less of a feeling, and more of a decision. Still, my heart is involved. And though I try and be discerning in love and who I give my heart to, I still end up with heartbreak from time to time.

Many times as a 40-year old bachelor I have wanted to give up on love. I don't want to go through more pain and hurt again. I want to avoid the tears. But eventually I come around and remember how good it feels to love another person and let them into my life.

The Lumineers' song Stubborn Love reminds me that it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all:

She'll tear a hole in you, the one you can't repair
But I still love her, I don't really care
When we were young, oh, oh, we did enough
When it got cold, ooh, ooh, we bundled up
I can't be told, ah, ah, it can't be done
It's better to feel pain, than nothing at all   
The opposite of love's indifference

It's easy to become indifferent. To become apathetic. To become walled-up to avoid hurt and pain. 1 John 4:8 tells us, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." Fear. Indifference. Apathy. Whatever you want to call the opposite of love (I don't think it's hate--hate may be a byproduct of fear, but fear is a much fuller dark side to love).

Tennsyon penned, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." I agree. But it's also better to have loved and kept that love. But let not the pain of love lost or the fears of loves to come keep one from loving at all. Yes, there will be heartache anytime one loves another. But what is gained in loving another makes life so much richer.