Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to a great suffering, because those we love most cause us not only great joy, but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies, the pain of the leaving can tear us apart. Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.
Henri Nouwen – from Bread for the Journey (Harper Collins, 2006)