Heartbreak comes in many shapes and forms. It is likely that each and every one of us has experienced some form of it on some level.
The day of my departure from Rwanda, I was watching Grey’s Anatomy (a not-so-guilty pleasure) with my friend Heather when I received an unexpected visitor. In the sudden turn of events in my time there, I found myself in a position that did not allow for many goodbyes, so the possibility of seeing my precious Rwandese friends was not on the grid of my reality. When the door opened and Adeline walked in, I instantly burst into tears.
Adeline did not need any words from me. She simply held me as I cried, and repeated “Ndagukunda, Laura,” over and over. This simple phrase, “I love you,” was exactly what I needed. My heart was broken.
When she left the room, I turned my tear stained face to Heather and said, “that hurt.” Very gently but as a matter-of-fact, Heather responded, “love hurts, Laura.”
Three months later, I am still meditating on that comment. I find myself pondering all the ways I could have avoided heartache and pain. I ask myself, for the sake of my tender heart, how can I avoid any possibility of that pain in the future? The only answer I find is this: I can’t.
I am fool for love. In fact, in the words of Blake Shelton, I would say I am Love’s great martyr. I just really love love. I take delight in shepherding others towards an assurance of affection. Seeing others experience love brings great joy to my heart.
So where does the heartache come in? I believe Heidi Baker says it best in these two phrases. “Love is a four letter word that will cost you everything,” and “Love looks like something.” My ever growing understanding is that when we discover the second, the first is true in a beautiful way.
For those who have been wondering where I am or what my plan is now that I am home, this is my reality. I am in the will of the Father, and my plan is to learn a little more about loving well as each day passes. Here’s the thing- love did cost me everything. Was it because I am a saint and I just gave of myself in an all-too-perfect Mother Teresa fashion? Absolutely not.
My story is one of recklessness. If ever you wish to see a real life example of zeal without wisdom, my journey in Rwanda is a flawless example. Love cost me everything there because I didn’t know what love looked like.
One definition of martyr is “someone who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle.” Dear world, let me tell you from experience- when love becomes a principle, we have a serious problem on our hands.
Am I blanketing my entire experience of love in Rwanda as an act of principle? Definitely not. My relationships there were real and raw. The people in my life, the Rwandese as well as many expats, stole my heart and my love for them was limitless. The problem was in the execution.
Love is a noun and I have it,
but love is also a verb and I need to learn how to.
This is perhaps the best answer to the question I am most frequently asked these days, “What is going on in your life?” I am learning how to take my zealous love and express it with wisdom. I am surrounded by some amazing leaders and friends who truly believe in me, see me for who I really am, and long to see me succeed just as much, if not more, than I do. I am boldly pursuing my wildest dreams from the lowest place and trusting God- not just with my future but with my every moment.
My hope and prayer is that God will use my journey to glorify His name. I used to say that if even one person could learn from my mistakes, it would be worth it. That may or may not happen, and I may or may not ever hear the testimony if it does, but my newest revelation is this: I am one person and I have learned so much from my mistakes, and that makes it all worth it.
Love broke my heart, and I couldn’t be happier.
Here are a few pictures of some of the people who stole my heart:
And here are a few of the people who are actively stealing my heart these days:)
And then there’s my guitar:)