Here is a quote that has (once agian) pushed me out of the safe and warm beach of simply pondering a thought and into the exciting and unknown woods of writing. C.S. Lewis wrote:
“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.”
From the many cool fall walks, a few warm coffee talks, and some scattered beach heart to hearts it seems that their are two main ways people approach relationships.
The first, is the glowing and beeming person who can’t stop discussing their new found relationship. You realize pretty quickly that if you got up and walked away the conversation would not change a whole lot. They would keep on talking, edging closer and closer to worship of the “perfect specimen of a human being” that has recently entered their life. As you keep on listening they start to venture from the other person and throw the terms “us”, “we”, “our” up in the air like the words should decorate the whole earth. These are key words. For although they have just set out on this new found relationship the terms of commitment are flowing from their mouth and are dripping with naiveness. Although it’s the middle of August you listen as your dear friend discusses Christmas plans, Valentines day ideas and even next summer. Perhaps you even get sucked in a little too. The excitement is drenched in so much hope and happiness that it’s hard not to jump head first with them.
The second, is the heartbroken. Here, history (although there are other instruments as well) has molded your dear friend into shaking with fear instead of grinning with excitement. When you asked about their love life their eyes flickered with excitement but then quickly turned to fear: like a neon sign that only dares flash optimism every now and then. In contrast with “Commitment King or Queen” you are dragging the good things out your loved friend. You offer excitement, they bring fear. You point to hopeful possibilities, they point to heartbreak. Their heart flickers with excitment, but the dark, airless casket jabs at past pain until the light gets snuffed out. Despite their being hopeful signs of a lasting relationship, the unseen dampness makes them shiver from head to toe. You try to get them out of the “dark and cold casket” but you soon realize that you can only bring blankets of rationality, and show them the fire of successful relationships.
You may have never tasted the bitter, cold steel of heartbreak; maybe you have only experienced the sweet, warm flavor that comes from a balanced and encouraging relationship. Others can still trace the scars of heartbreak while asleep. Whatever the case we need to give hope and we need to feel hope. We need to know it’s strong bands, feel it’s broad shoulders, and recognize where it comes from.
We need to give hope without being naive, offer insight without being pessimistic, and above all we need wisdom to discern between the two.
Heart caskets have no place in the family of Christ.