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, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis (via brandonkcurtis)

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. 

Timothy Willard loves to sit with his wife by the bonfire and make up stories about Tom the Backyard-Badger for his three lovely daughters. When he's not carving up the Appalachian Mountains on his Salsa El Mariachi, you can find him busy writing a book, collaborating on a book, or reading a book written by someone dead and gone. Timothy studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis under theologian Alister McGrath. The author of five books, including Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (Zondervan), Timothy is currently finishing The Life-Changing Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019), preparing his doctoral thesis for publication, and trying to find a publisher for his first novel The Tempest and the Bloom. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.