The problem this stuffy academician faced in the late 1950’s was that he fell in love with an admirer named Joy Davidman Gresham. He fell hard. Within a few short years, however, his new love died of cancer and his heart was broken. The movie “Shadowlands” dealt with this part of his life story. His journey of grief was intimately recorded in A Grief Observed.
Out of this experience Lewis made an observation about love. In his usual poignant style, he said:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and probably be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the coffin or casket of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
The only place outside heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.
© 2006, John C. Fitts, III. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 4 (2006).