Isn’t it strange?
Some of the deepest wounds we endure in our lives come at the hands of those we love and who love us most. Contrary to the notion that there might be two categories of relationships—those that help and those that hurt—experience teaches us that intimacy inevitably invites injury.
Could this be true?
We act surprised to find the heinous crimes in the news not being perpetrated by some evil, lurking stranger from the street, but by a father, a close friend or a trusted family confidant. We hear stories told of unfaithfulness, of a father’s neglect, of broken vows and broken lives. Betrayal on such deeply personal levels defies belief. How can we make sense of it? How does this even happen?
We use words like tragic, senseless and terrible.
A friend I know well, enduring the preliminary stages of divorce, spoke to me over the phone of the awful pain of a broken relationship—the reality that his best friend, his wife, was pulling away from him, and he from her. His voice quickened as he told me he’d been seeing what he called "signs" everywhere. He’d be driving on the highway, walking, reading, watching TV and something from somewhere would speak to his deep desire for reconciliation. On this particular day he’d driven to his office in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, unable to lay still. And turning on the computer, his reading eyes were met by the words, "The great tragedy of life is not that things are broken, but that things are not put back together."
Read that again.
You see, I have this feeling that deep down within us, deeper than our anger, deeper than our need to be proved right or be told we’re not responsible for what’s happened, deeper than our need to settle the score, we all seek reconciliation. We’re all hoping for someway to somehow just make it better. And I think it goes beyond wishing it never happened—it’s simply the desperate need to put things back together; to somehow, no matter the cost, make things right again.
And we share it. We carry the desire together because the potential to hurt, to move from friend to foe, exists in each of us. Recognizing the imperfection frees us from the cynicism born when we pretend or expect our best friend, parent, or soul-mate to be incapable of such transgression. Perfect imperfection frees us to love and to accept love.
I mean, how much strength lies in the intimacy found between individuals? The power to break—but even more beautiful—the power to mend as well.
If we’re serious about the cross, then we must be willing to admit, accept and make amends with the wrongs done to and by us. Because, if we’re honest, we do, and will continue to, hurt and pain the people closest to us—even those we love.
Love can handle it, but can you?
Can you hang on long enough to realize that your propensity to break is not greater than love’s intention to mend? Can you plunge down to the painfully dark depths of your life—where you’ve pushed people away—forgive and find that profound love is found in continually forgiving, foregoing judgment, retribution or retaliatory action—over and over and over again.
It is the grace shown in love that makes it the greatest, the wonderful absurdity that cannot be outdone or undone by any misdoing, ever.