In my continuing series of posts from The C.S. Lewis Journal, today I’m writing about one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes. It’s all about love and how important it is.
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 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 Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.-from The Four Loves
I had a one-eyed dog named Bette. She lost her eye the first day we met. It broke my heart, but she lived another eighteen years. Quite happily, I might add. When she came to the end of her eighteen years, my heart broke again.
And yet, I wouldn’t change our brief time together for anything. She will always hold a special place in my broken and mended heart. The golden scar she left on my heart prepared me for the day I had to decide whether to let the vet remove my current dog’s eye that had been damaged by glaucoma. Though it broke my heart again to have to see him go through that trial, I wouldn’t change a thing.
How many times can a heart be broken and still go on loving? I don’t know. When I reach the limits of love, I’ll let you know. But don’t hold your breath. For all the times my heart has been broken, it’s been well worth the love I’ve experienced in the moments and days and years in between.
It hasn’t just been dogs. My heart has felt shattered beyond repair by loved ones I’ve lost—whether through death or betrayal or indifference.
But every time the pieces have fallen to the depths of despair, Jesus has come along and carefully reassembled them, melding my heart together with His love, the divine solder.
Keep our hearts, Lord, from turning to unbreakable stone. Amen.