Love is a strange thing.   It is wondrous, joyful and one of the most beautiful feelings you can have.   It can motivate you, drive you to levels you may not be able to acheive on your own and it can push a person to live a better life than the would have otherwise.

But love can hurt.  Like when the time comes for your child to leave the house, or when someone you love has to leave, either by design or by chance.  Or when a loved one passes on and leaves us behind to try to fill in the empty void that was the place that once held their presence.

One might think that it is easier to not love at all when you think of the pain that comes from the loss of a love.  That the emptiness in your heart and life are just not worth the effort of having someone there to begin with.  You might also think that maybe love is some cruel joke that life plays on us, to give us that beautiful feeling that lifts your heart and makes you feel like you can do or be anything, but then it can be so easily dashed away…  leaving you so hurt and vulnerable.

Why is it that we succumb to something that can leave us so vulnerable, so weak, so open to attack?  How is it natural for something that cannot be seen, touched or tasted, at least in the purely literal sense, to lay us open like a knife plunged into our stomachs?  Why is it that when we feel the heartache of a love lost, we still take a chance and do it again and again?

But with all the broken hearts I have had in my life… with all the pain and burden I have felt as the result of love over my many years, I would not change a thing.  I would not wish any those emotions away or to have never been.

Even with the pain, with the sorrow, the gut-wrenching agony of the loss, the love was something beautiful that will always be a part of me and will always give me some pleasure in its memory.  When I do think back on those loves, I will enjoy the memory and, to a lesser extent, will relish the pain that is there too.

So…  here’s to love and the ones we offer it to, for the better or the worse.  May we never forget how to love and never be afraid to open our hearts to others, even if there is a chance of it happening again.

“Tis better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all”     -AL Tennyson