We’ve been hosting this group in our home recently. It is made up of people who have been in church groups for decades. They have all experienced change, loss, betrayal, pain, and the sadness that comes when the community does not live up to our expectations of it. They have all been let down, disappointed, hurt. Here is the thing that is amazing to me — they are still showing up anyway. They are showing up open to themselves, to each other, and to God. Sometime back a friend gave me a little note that said, “stay soft, it looks beautiful on you” and I have that note hanging in my office. Yet if I’m honest, I don’t think I’m remaining all that soft lately. My tendency in this post-covid-ish world is to shrink inside of myself like a turtle, I don’t want to risk that pain again. I don’t want to attach to a transient group of people who will likely leave, move, change or die! Most days I feel that I would rather be self-protective. So this little group we have been hosting is saving me in a way. They are saving me by reminding me that showing up even after the inevitable disappointment of the community is worth it. It is worth it because the alternative is to close yourself off and to become isolated and hard.
C. S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, “There is no safe investment. 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 alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.”
Love means opening ourselves up to pain, loss and sorrow. I hope you will join me in taking the risk to love again.
Love big. Be well.