Every now and again, I need to revisit this amazing section from King’s Cross, a Tim Keller book.
There are a lot of wounded people out there. They are emotionally sinking, they’re hurting, and they desperately need to be loved. And when they are with you, you want to look at your watch and make a graceful exit, because listening to them with all their problems can be grueling. It can be exhausting to be a friend to an emotionally damaged person. The only way they’re going to start ﬁlling up emotionally is if somebody loves them, and the only way to love them is to let yourself be emotionally drained. Some of your fullness is going to have to go into them, and you have to empty out to some degree. If you hold on to your emotional comfort and simply avoid those people, they will sink. The only way to love them is through substitutionary sacriﬁce.
Or think of an even more dramatic example—parenting. When you have children, they’re in a state of dependency. They have so many needs; they can’t stand on their own. And they will not just grow out of their dependency automatically. The only way that your children will grow beyond their dependency into self—sufﬁcient adults is for you to essentially abandon your own independence for twenty years or so. When they are young, for example, you’ve got to read to them and read to them—otherwise they won’t develop intellectually. Lots of their books will be boring to you. And you have to listen to your children, and keep listening as they say all kinds of things that make for less than scintillating conversation.
And then there’s dressing, bathing, feeding, and teaching them to do these things for themselves. Furthermore, children need about ﬁve afﬁrmations for every criticism they hear from you. Unless you sacriﬁce much of your freedom and a good bit of your time, your children will not grow up healthy and equipped.King’s Cross by Tim Keller, page 142.