To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. C.S. Lewis
This might possibly be my all time favorite C.S. Lewis quote.
I really love the way he tells it like it is…and it always interests me that Lewis “got real” with heart suffering when his wife was dying of cancer. What was formerly a scholarly and high-brow treatise on a breaking heart changed profoundly when he found himself suffering from one.
I so agree with Lewis’ assessment on loving people…it’s a choice that is guaranteed to break your heart into miniscule pieces time and time again. But I also believe it is always worth the risk and the pain, time and time again.
Looking back (and not very far…to be honest) I can still recount the pain of misunderstanding, of poorly chosen (and even more poorly expressed) words, and lots of emotional upheaval all tossed in together.
It’s in those tumultuous moments that I sometimes wish I couldn’t feel a thing and I’d give anything to lock those feelings out.
Then, I let a little time pass. Let my emotions level out. I pray for “peace to surround my borders,” and before I know it, I’m ready to take up the good fight again and unlock my resolve to stay safe and detached and dead to the needs of others.
I take a deep breath and start a conversation (often with an apology) or when I’m embracing even better sense, I realize everyone’s heart will be in better condition if I simply sit still and listen for awhile.