We face quite the dilemma as human beings: on the one hand, we are made for and need relationships and on the other hand, relationships are inherently risky and we’re bound to get hurt by them. There’s a reason they call it “falling in love”; it’s like jumping into a free fall without knowing if we’ll be caught by the other. This is the vulnerability C.S. Lewis speaks of; love is painful because no relationship is exempt from human imperfection. Upon closer inspection, there’s something even deeper contained within his words.

The word vulnerable is derived from the Latin word “vulnerare” meaning “to wound”. So, to love, is to be willing to be wounded. Now, it’s understandable to shy away from pain, especially pain that seems useless. One might ask, “Why would I take that risk? What’s the point? I can stay safe on my own”. This is where the profound reality of C.S. Lewis’s words emerge: being wounded by love is often times the vehicle through which we heal our vulnerabilities. I remember a priest once saying, “marriage is surgery for our hearts” which opened my heart to the depth of love. The parable of the prodigal son also comes to mind; the son was wounded by his father’s love, compassion, and mercy. The son’s heart was broken and he placed it back in the hands of his father which then restored him. Baring our wounds to one another and breathing love into them is how we get through the pain together. How we cope with the vulnerability of love together is what determines whether the risk seems worth it. There’s so much more that could be said about this but I’ll end with a few questions for reflection.

Where do you feel vulnerable? It’s often not hard to find; search for the place you seek to defend or protect the most. A good guide is to explore how things impact you emotionally on the inside; it’s not just what has happened but how it’s left you feeling. How might you safely begin to share this with your loved ones or even God Himself?

* The information provided is for self-enrichment and not intended to replace any necessary mental health treatment.⁣

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Jonathan Dixon, LMFT
Alpha Omega Team