The Vulnerability of Love
March 14, 2023
Updated March 15, 2023
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“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, and airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”—C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Lewis is undoubtedly one of the most influential Christian authors of the 20th century. His writings accurately articulate complex concepts such as Christianity, faith, doubt, and morality while retaining a sense of warmth and accessibility. Lewis’s perspicacity in blending philosophy, fiction, and theology has earned him a place in history as one of the greatest Christian apologists.
“To Love Is To Be Vulnerable”
In his book The Four Loves, Lewis claims that true love comes with a certain level of vulnerability. This insightful statement puts forth the idea that love is not just a simple emotion expressed through hugs and kisses. On the contrary, it’s a much more complex concept that is not for the faint of heart.
Love is not always as simple as it is sometimes portrayed in fairy tales or movies. In reality, love is a complex and frightening thing that requires us to open ourselves up to the possibility of being hurt.
When we choose to love someone, we essentially allow them to hold our hearts in their hands. We entrust those we love with our deepest desires, secrets, dreams, hopes, weaknesses, and fears. This openness forms bonds of trust and camaraderie that can be stronger than steel. Yet, simultaneously, the same vulnerability means that confidence can be shattered, and our hearts can be broken.
Vulnerability is not just limited to romantic love. We can also feel open when we love our friends and family. We invest time, energy, and emotion into these relationships—and there is always the possibility that they could end in disappointment or conflict.
However, despite the possibility of pain, we still choose to love. We do this because we know the rewards outweigh the risks. When we love someone, and they love us back, it can be the most beautiful and fulfilling experience in the world. Love has the power to fill us with joy, happiness, and a sense of belonging that nothing else can match. Moreover, as beings created in the image of God, we were made for relationships and love.
Love Is a Need
This may be why humanity’s desire for love often appears more like a need than a want. As Lewis says, when we choose to lock our hearts up, we become cold, unfeeling, and insensitive. We lose the vitality of life as our protected hearts hollow out from the inside. If this kind of emotional isolation continues for long enough, our hardened hearts may cross a line from which there is no return.
In essence, C.S. Lewis’s statement, “to love is to be vulnerable,” is a profound truth that speaks to the very heart of what it means to be human. Love is not just a simple emotion that we feel, but it is a choice that we make each and every day. It requires us to open ourselves up to the possibility of pain, but it also has the power to transform our lives in beautiful ways. In short, to love is to be vulnerable, but it’s a risk we all must take.
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