Heartache and love cannot be separated. To have love without heartache is to not really have authentic love at all but self-love. Heartache without love is despair.
A man may fall in love with a beautiful woman yet only to be reminded of the weakness and frailty of himself; a reminder that cuts deep into his heart revealing the deep and painful palpitations of his soul. This heartache of man reveals the essence of love. For if we are to even begin to love anything at all, it requires us to be vulnerable. Love is vulnerable. There is nothing safe about love. In fact, love is dangerous and tragic. As C.S. Lewis writes, “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.”
There are many of us who wish to keep our heart to ourselves and to give it to no one. The hesitancy to love or be loved is a meticulous process in which he or she will stop at nothing to make sure their heart is kept away somewhere safe and intact. They have nothing to fear. Their heart will never be broken. Yet, when something is kept away, kept still and motionless in the recesses of their despairing self, it becomes stagnate. And when something is kept stagnate and there is not growth…then there can only be decay.
The risk of tragedy is inevitable when we choose to love. C.S. Lewis also writes that, “The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
Suffering and love are inexpressibly united. As one saint said, “Love that does not suffer is not worthy of that name.” Suffering is the school of love in which we learn that love is not meant to be kept but is meant to be given away. Love, by its nature is self-giving. We know this by the relationships we have in our lives. Those who we love we would do anything for. We will do everything and anything for the people we love, even if that means that we may get hurt so that they don’t.
Love is dangerous but it is a danger that is beautiful. The magnificent adventures of heartache, while they may be dangerous and tragic, do not end on dark and melancholic note. Each journey of heartache and love that we experience lead us closer and closer to the Infinite and Inexhaustible Lover.
To love is to take a risk and to accept the possibilities of heartache and suffering. Yet, the alternative of not giving your heart is the worst of places to be.