Be careful who you love…


jeferson and isabel
Originally uploaded by Lost in Rio.

It’s late at night, and I can’t sleep, so I decided I’d make use of the time and try and write something. I’m sitting up in bed, shivering in my sweatshirt (it must be 60 degrees outside). I’m listening to a song by Waterdeep called “Foolish Love.” It’s beautiful. It’s probably one of my favorite songs at the moment.

At the moment it moves me because that has been much of my prayer for the last two years. “Father, increase my love. Father, help me to love more. Father, grow my love for the poor and broken and oppressed. Father, plant in me Your love, that I might love others w/ Your Agape…”  Sometimes it really sucks when God answers your prayers. Love opens up your heart and makes you so vulnerable.

I look back and realize that much of my life I have avoided love, or at least avoided the dangers of “loving too much.” When you love too much, you give people power over you. You allow them into your life, and you give them the power to hurt you. And people will hurt you. We are all imperfect, messy, broken children who on occasion are selfish, self-centered, proud, and inconsiderate. I love my family, but they have hurt me. I have hurt them. And in trying to protect myself, I slowly hardened my heart. You allow people in, but only to a certain point. Beyond that point, no one is allowed. Thanks for stopping by, but Keep off the Grass and Beware of Dog.

This worked out just fine until I came down to Rio, when it became my job to love the outcasts. And you can’t love someone unless you let them into your heart. Jeferson was the first to sneak in. Rafael came over the walls soon after. Isabel managed it. Then Hugo, Junior, Christiane, and Maria Elena, Raiane and Renato and Julia and Igor, and sometimes it feels like my heart will explode. It aches beautifully.

I prayed to love more, but I didn’t pray that I would make myself vulnerable and easily hurt… It hurts when the people you love are cold at night. It hurts to see the ones you love destroying themselves. A few weeks ago I sat w/ Jeferson on the cold sidewalk until late in the night w/ my arm around his shoulder and prayed for him and sang over him as he wept. But eventually, it was time for me to go. I had to get up and leave him there. As I walked away, I was the one whose shoulders were racked w/ sobs. My tears were my prayer.

There’s a Waterdeep song called “Foolish Love” – about how love doesn’t make sense – the chorus goes like this. “I’ve got some kind of foolish love, running through my veins. Standing in this foolish love, soaking wet in the pouring rain.” I’ve been there. This love that makes no sense, as I stand in the praça of Lapa, the cold rain on my face and in my heart. And then I think that I have a small taste of our Father’s heart for the youth of Lapa, and for each of us – the broken children of His dreams. And I want to weep and dance and sing and sob. But I don’t. Instead, I usually just go over and give out a few hugs and handshakes, play some dominoes, break out the first aid kit, give some hot chocolate and love and a prayer and a smile and a listening ear. And it doesn’t solve anything yet, but somehow, for now, it is enough.

Waterdeep goes on to say in their song –

“Reason will come to you in your darkest hour and ask you if you really suppose if all this foolishness makes any sense at all. You tell him Love has reasons that reason will never know – and stand there in your foolish love running through your veins just stand there in your foolish love soaking wet in the pouring rain.

“I imagine sometimes Jesus is a lot like me, when the woman he loves says she thinks she loves him too. He just gets real quiet and looks down at the ground, because until she says she’s ready there’s nothin’ much He can do – except stand there in His foolish love flowing out His veins. He’s got some kind of foolish love, soaking wet in the pouring rain.”

May we love those in our lives w/ His foolish love – That love which makes no sense, and only sees the beloved. May we love our Abba w/ His foolish love, as He first loved us.

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Filed under love, photos, reflections, streets, tears

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