LeadingSmart

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Vulnerable Love (a guest post)

For my wife and I, one of the greatest joys of our lives is seeing the spiritual journey of our kids. When they are 6 or 10 or 14, our involvement is a lot more hands-on. When they are almost 20-years old, as is Heather, we do a lot of listening, asking questions, smiling and watching them find their way and determine their own beliefs and convictions. So it was fun to read Heather's blog post about how she is processing the difficult passing of her uncle:

Vulnerable Love (by Heather Stevens)

DSC09163I consider myself a fairly analytical person. It's interesting. I find myself analyzing my own feelings and behaviors on a daily basis, I also find myself analyzing other people; what are her motives behind that particular behavior? Why is he reacting this way? What occurred in my childhood that made me think this way?

When my uncle died, 2 and a half weeks ago, I did a lot of observing. I noted how each one of my family members grieved. I analyzed how I grieved. I learned a lot about myself; I am not a fan of how I went about (and am going about) the grieving process. Why isn't it over yet? That's what I keep asking myself. Why am I still mourning? It's been almost 3 weeks, but it's been over a year coming. So why do I feel like my heart is burning and twisting inside my chest every time I tell the story? My goodness, I hate death!
I started analyzing other things about myself too. How is this/will this event impact my current and future relationships? How does it affect my relationship with God? My view of God? I realized that initially I wanted nothing to do with any of the close friendships I had formed. I didn't want their compassion, pity, or love. I wasn't coherently thinking this at the time, but looking back I realize that I saw their love for me as a danger. What if something happened to one of them? What would I do? How would I react? Relationships aren't safe. If I leave them now, their inevitable leaving in the future won't hurt.

And God? Does He just give me people so He can take them away?

I looked at romantic relationships next. I never ever ever want to go through what my aunt is going through. It KILLS me just to think about what she is going through right now. That scares the heck out of me. Why get involved with someone now if the future could potentially contain this kind of heart break? Why not guard my heart completely, only let him see a little of it, and hold him at arms length until he gets so fed up that he just gives up? Why hope for something if there is no guarantee of anything?

C.S. Lewis says this: “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be 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 Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

WHOA.

I love that. I love it so much. Relationships are a risk. Love is a risk. But were we not a risk when God sent Jesus to die for us? I know THAT hurt. I am so blessed that I have people in my life whom I am able to love, and who love me back. It is a PRIVILEGE that I am so broken by this death because it means I loved deeply. To live a safe life with no one to share it with and no one to love is even more depressing than to live a life of hurt from loving too deeply.

This vulnerable love thing is scary to me because I don't like hurting. I don't like crying myself to sleep every night because night times are when the thoughts and memories come rushing in. It's not fun. But I am choosing to trust that my God DOES have a plan for me and that plan includes loving every person I come into contact with. "To love at all is to be vulnerable", but it is what God called me to do so I am going to continue doing it because I know the blessings it will bring are going to be much greater than the pain I will feel.

-- Heather Stevens (original blog post)