I stumbled upon this excellent quote from CS Lewis on my friend Grahams blog:
‘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’.
At first sight his talks about the vulnerability of love … but if we are called, or created, to be in relationship with each other … CS Lewis is really talking about the vulnerability of any human relationship. A raw vulnerability that may well result in a broken heart.
A broken heart at first sight, again, seems to be a bad thing. But in my vulnerability thinking I have started to wonder if this is really the case. To grow in love, in care and in understanding needs a willingness to be vulnerable, and I am not sure true vulnerability happens without the heart being broken now and again. Actually I wonder whether the more the heart is broken and the more we allow God to impact it … that the better that must be.
As I have looked over Gillingham this past year and the lives of some people that I am amazingly privileged to have been involved with …. there have been occasions when I have wept for people and situations. I wonder now if my heart broke for them. At feeling the pain between what is needed and what will happen my heart has been broken because I have realised the pain won’t go … and that all I can do is stand and hold the pain with them. To stand in the crap of life alongside them and stay with them as they deal with it.
I have prayed to God to change things …. and God has reminded me that we are supposed to be the hands and feet of our creator. Being hands and feet of the creator is inevitably a pretty messy and painful experience. An experience that breaks hearts.
As I have been rolling this over and over in my mind, I stumbled on this video on WOTP. In this there is a discussion between Brian McLaren and David Wilcox. The opening question in this video is ‘what breaks your heart?’ Wilcox answers this with ‘the gap between what is needed and what I carry’. I think I relate to that and think he explains the feeling I have above better than I ever could do.
McLaren is amazingly honest and replies ‘I don’t think my heart gets broken enough anymore.’ He seems uncomfortable by this admission, and it causes me to ask and challenge myself in that area.
How much heart breaking is enough?
Is there a point when it becomes too much?
Does allowing our heart to be broken ever become unhelpful, or does it just inspire us to keep going further?