To Love is to Be Vulnerable
"Epic Quotes" is a category all by itself. There are some quotes you just need to have down somewhere where you can revisit it over and over again and share with friends. Here we're keeping track of some of our favorite quotes. We might offer commentary below the quote, or give you the commentary of someone else on the quote, like this one.
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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 up 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."
-C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
One of Lewis’s most quoted passages, and for obvious reasons. Lewis here, however, is working out a thoughtful reaction to a passage in St. Augustine’s Confessions. Augustine, who had just lost a dear friend writes: Though left alone, he loses none dear to him; for all are dear in the one who cannot be lost.“ (Book IV; xiv) Basically, to use Lewis’s paraphrase, "Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose."
To this, Lewis says that to love at all is to hurt, to lose, to experience pain. The alternative is to turn to stone. Lewis, unlike Augustine is not discouraging inordinate human love, but making a comment about the smallness of our love for God. "It is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for the man, that constitutes the inordinacy.” (p.122)
A great passage indeed. Love, and love hard. If you don’t love, you’ll turn to stone. It’s not that we love humans too much, however, but that we love God not great enough.