Sometimes I really wonder if it’s worth loving other people.

People come into our lives, some by blood or by birth; others drift in and insinuate themselves as such a part of your world that they become closer than some family. Relationships are such a double-edged sword: they are messy and complicate out lives, yet they give our lives such meaning.

It scares me to love some of you so much, knowing that I can’t shield you from bad things out there, from bad people seeking their own selfish ends. Knowing that I can’t take the bad things onto myself in order for you to not experience it. It’s arrogant, and maybe condescending, but it’s honest. It’s the same knowing fear every parent experiences when they stare into the face of their newborn child. It’s the same knowing fear that couples experience when they look into each other’s eyes when they give their marriage vows, understanding that one will have to watch the other die. That doesn’t make me hurt any less when horrible things happen to people I care about. I feel like a failed father, a poor friend, a useless husband, or an impotent big brother.

I suppose that I could go into how God sent His son and had to watch Him die, but that doesn’t feel real satisfying right now. Somehow that feels too remote a spiritual lesson. It does, however, give me more insight into what Mary went through watching her son–her child whom she held in her arms, whom she bathed and fed, raised and loved for a lifetime–be crucified unjustly.

But when all is said and done, I don’t regret loving the people God has brought into my life. We can’t live from a place of fear. We can’t be afraid to love out of fear. All we can do is love without taking one another for granted, pray for one another’s continued safety, and be there for one another when the bad times come.

And they will come.

No matter how much I want to protect you from them.

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