No, that’s not part of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, but as much as I know that love is good, I know without doubt that it is hard.
I couldn’t work out what to write today – it’s late Friday night here in Australia, and I’m very tired after a particularly trying day at work, and a few days of dealing with a child’s trying behaviour (which is nothing unusual around here). Both situations have required conscious acts of love, the kind that don’t fit the warm, fuzzy version, rather the ‘this takes a lot of me and is really hard’ version. Patience. Laying down pride. Turning away from anger. Speaking truth, with kindness. I’m feeling a bit raw around the edges as a result.
That the last few days have been rather challenging is no surprise to me – writing about a particular topic involves rather a lot of time thinking about it, and I’m finding that I’m constantly measuring my thoughts and actions against Paul’s words describing love. As a result, I’m feeling pretty vulnerable, which is not an unfamiliar state of being for me, but one that I’m still not ‘at home’ in. I’m learning more and more about vulnerability, why it is so important in our culture and why we need to embrace it – why I need to embrace it.
I found this quote tonight, one I’ve come across before and is particularly relevant right now, to this series. To truly know love, we need to be vulnerable – the alternative is to be hard-hearted and unfeeling, and love cannot live in a place like that. Take these words with you into your weekend and ask yourself (as I will be), what are you wrapping carefully around your heart? What is your casket or coffin, your I-can’t-be-hurt-here safe place?
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even 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. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C. S. Lewis