Sunday, April 26, 2009

The One With the Reflection

A few years ago, I went through a tough time, spiritually and emotionally. After a series of losses, culminating in a tragedy that struck me quite hard, I sort of detatched myself emotionally from life, and from the people in it. I was under the opinion that as long as people couldn't get to me, they couldn't hurt me. Loss, death, pain, betrayal--none of them hold any power if you aren't invested in someone. This plan, however, is severely flawed, since life without investing in people is really not...living. And your heart might be safe, but it's also cold, and empty, and leaves you feeling sort of hollow. It's safe, but miserable. This time in my life is when I read my favorite C.S. Lewis quote of all time:

“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 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.”

I can say with great confidence that my heart, though it has been wrung and broken at times, has been penetrated with beauty, love, life, joy, happiness, laughter, and thousands of moments that have been nothing less than glimpses into a life of eternal communion with One who will never hurt my heart. But sometimes I wonder what I missed in those times when my heart was indeed locked in my casket of selfishness. I know the people I hurt, I know the relationships I needed to mend, and the restoration that needed to happen. But how many moments of laughter did I miss? How many beautiful days? How many people did I miss the chance to love? And how many of those chances will I never get back?

I'm thinking through this tonight as I am allowing my heart to once again be wrung. And I am preparing for it to be broken again. But I refuse to lock my heart up again. I refuse to choose the easy path of fear and control. I will be vulnerable. And I will love with reckless abandon, for however long I am given the chance.

5 comments:

Heather Nicole said...

I am in total awe of where you are as a person--especially for one so young.
very proud to even know you, much less be considered a friend.
:)

(btw, my word verification is "patter". that made me happy:)

Val Nebbia - singer/songwriter said...

lovely Ashley.

M. Mcgough said...

Ashley, I too when through a period of locked up selfishness and it saved me from my depression, and the rejection of my peers it made me powerful because I could win love but not give it back. But I took my heart out of its box almost unwillingly. I cry a lot more now, for my self but mostly for others. And I have learned that part of loving is sharing pain and being hurt and hurting. But rejoice in the day when I can be eternally loving and Never hurt or be hurt. Such Joy it will be! I am still very sad with you My heart broke with yours and I am glad for the chance to morn and rejoice with you. But even more so I rejoice that you too have learned the lesson that love is needed to live.

Lauren & Brendan said...

Jeez Ashley! I think you're awesome!

Bethany Blanchard Coleman said...

I don't know if I did, but I'm going to pretend that I gave you the book with that quote in it. Mmmm, I'm awesome.