The capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reigns supreme.
The worst part is the unknown. The pain of being alone, the loneliness, is familiar. You've dealt with that. You understand it. But loving someone, risking everything, is unknown. There's no way to know how bad it's going to be. You barely survive the pain of being alone, so how can you deal with anything worse? So you don't bother to try.
But in that moment when my brother took the field, all that washed away, and everyone was proud... I looked up at my dad, and he was smiling. I looked at my mom, and she was smiling even though she was nervous about my brother getting hurt, which was strange because it was a VCR tape of an old game, and she knew he didn't get hurt.
A mother's heart is a vast and glorious thing. My mother's heart was expansive, having been enlarged by suffering and years of clinging to Jesus while being misunderstood, dismissed, and judged by those she loved most. Me included. It had cost her to love, had cost her much to mother. It always does. But she would tell you that it's worth it, that there is no other way.