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Monday, February 14, 2011

Risky Business

To love someone is very risky business. It means giving your heart to someone. We hope to not have it broken, but instead have it nurtured and cared for in return. This requires trusting the person you've chosen and yourself. This means allowing yourself to be vulnerable to being let down, but also to being happily surprised. I was looking through my poetry, songs, and journals from many years ago. I wrote mostly about love. How it made me feel, what I wanted from it, what I got from it, how it hurt, how it moved me. In reading these old things, I can relate to some and to other parts I think I could see the melodrama oozing off the pages...literally! I rolled my eyes more than once. Some stuff I still really liked because of the cadence of what I had written. I could still hear it in my head just as I had when I'd written it. And then, I found a favorite piece I'd copied down as a reminder of why we love even at the risk of having our hearts broken.

“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 . . . . The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers. . . .of love. . .is Hell.”
CS Lewis, "The Four Loves"

CS Lewis wrote my favorite books, the Narnia Series. He is impassioned by the Lord and about the reality of the world in which we live and the lives we've created. With tongue-in-cheek he says to "give your heart to no one" as the only means of keeping it protected from being broken. Doing that will allow your heart to become "unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable"...that seems a hefty price to pay. Instead, I agree with Tennyson and would rather to have known love and lost it than to have never loved at all.

We are reminded of the power of our hearts in Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." We're not told to stop loving or giving our hearts away, but to "guard" our hearts. This is a reminder that love is a serious emotion. It is not to be entered into lightly. The heart of another person and your own are at stake here. People have died from a broken heart, taken their own life over their broken heart and have taken the lives of others in the name of it and because of it.

I agree wholeheartedly (pun intended) with Robert Tizon, "I would rather have eyes that cannot see; ears that cannot hear; lips that cannot speak, than a heart that cannot love." And I ask us all to remember what Mary Schmich said as we pursue affairs of the heart: "Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with those who are reckless with yours."

Happy Valentine's Day!

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