WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Hope for the Heartbroken

By Sean Parker Dennison

October 5, 2016

"The heart was made to be broken."
― Oscar Wilde

A colorful neon sign, "Hearbreak Hotel" (the "o" in hotel is a broken heart) with a yellow arrow and "no vacancy"

I'm sitting here broken-hearted. I could try to convince you that it’s about the state of the world with its tragedies, suffering, and seeming lack of compassion, but it’s not. I’m broken-hearted because a relationship that had swept me off my feet is over. I’m sad because sometimes love isn’t enough. There are patterns, habits, preferences, and just ordinary circumstances that get in the way. Relationships end.

As a minister, I sometimes feel like I’m supposed to take my heartbreak and transform it immediately into hope with some instant alchemy. I think to myself, “I have to find a way to bring this back around to how Love never fails. I’m a minister!” I’m embarrassed to be so weary with grief, so heavy with disappointment.

I do believe Love (with a capital L) never fails. Still, heartbreak hurts and it takes time to heal. Even if you’ve been to seminary, preach regularly, and have a well-articulated theology rooted in Love, you don’t get a pass from the pain. And even though it’s hard, that is a good thing. Sitting here broken-hearted reminds me how tender we all are.

Heartbreak happens. Love never fails. Both of these things are true, and when I make room for this seeming paradox, I feel a little better. I remember I’m not alone. I remember that I can choose to be kind and loving to people all around, who may be heartbroken too. And I remember that I am held by a Love that is bigger than any one relationship, a Love that has never and will never let me go.

About the Author

Sean Parker Dennison

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison is the minister at Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ashland, Oregon. Ordained in 2000, Rev. Dennison has served congregations in California, Utah, and Illinois and cofounded TRUUsT, an organization for transgender UU religious leaders, in 2004. They are...


For more information contact .