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 an animal. Wrap it carefully around 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.
One night, a month or so ago, the above realities about love became suddenly real to me. I was lying in bed, happy and content, thanking the Lord for the incredible amount of blessings in my life, when I was gripped by the overwhelming fear of losing Mike. That fear of losing my husband and best friend was followed by more dark thoughts of losing others that I love, which then flowed into grief over losing my mom. I rolled over and spoke those fears out loud to Mike. We talked through those fears, and what they mean.
Loving is a risk. It takes courage. It takes stepping out. It often means heartache. Love is a scary thing. But is what we were made to do. It is what God calls us to do. In Jesus' own words:
"My command is this: love each other as I have loved you."
Jesus took the ultimate risk in love. He loves so deeply that he was willing to face humiliation and die on a cross, only then to have so many of those he loved turn his back on him. And he asks us to do the same. To love, regardless of the consequences.
I have felt so challenged in this lately. To love despite not receiving the same love in return. To continuing loving despite the fear of losing it. To love through pain and frustration. To love simply because it is what Jesus is asking me to do. And I think Mr. Lewis is so right; when we avoid love we are putting ourselves in a coffin. Yes, it is safe, but there is no light, no air. We have to embrace the vulnerability of love to really experience what God intended life to be like for us.
This post was even difficult for me to write. Just thinking about the relationships in my life, what they mean to me, and those that I love pulls on my heart. Despite the pain or vulnerability that comes from those relationship, when I think about them not being a part of my life... well, my life just looks empty. So daily I decide that the risks of love are worth it.