"As long as there is suffering in this world, and as long as there is love to respond to it, grief and joy must abide together.
But what do we do with the fear? The fear of pain, the fear of grief, the fear that we may not be able to bear it? What if we are right, that facing the suffering will break us? I think there is something far more fearful than that, something that is happening everywhere always, one thing that is perpetuating the suffering. In our fear of pain, in our desire to protect our hearts, we are hardening them – we are making them ill, unable to respond as hearts are meant to do.
Hearts are meant to feel, and when they are well that’s what they do: in the forming of close relationships, healthy hearts feel love; in celebrating life, they feel joy; at the invasion of loss, they feel grief; towards the infliction of injustice, they feel anger. And in witnessing grievous suffering – healthy hearts break. Indifference to the suffering of others is a symptom of a sick and hardened heart, one that has lost the ability to love. As the Puritans said, a broken heart IS a healed heart. If this world is to heal, we must welcome the breaking of our hearts, not fear it.
I believe that the only way that we will ever welcome the breaking of our hearts, is when we stop being curved in on ourselves, as theologian Jürgen Moltmann put it, and learn to love somebody else. And the paradox is that when we begin to love somebody else, that is when we begin to find ourselves."