Living in Shadow

15 Dec

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even 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. To love is to be vulnerable.” C.S. Lewis

This morning, Beloved woke me early.


Why are you in love with words instead of real people?

The play Shadowlands and the life of C.S. Lewis has been running the perimeter of my brain for weeks and since,  I have been contemplating connection through language. Lewis and his wife Joy Gresham met and came to know each other primarily through letters. Their peculiar relationship has struck me for years. This great man, with the imagination and heart of a child, was perceived through his philosophy and writing by a woman who then took the initiative to pick up a pen and communicate. She saw something in him which intrigued her to the point of action. And in her unflagging patience, they came to know one another, love one another, and then part through her death. Her presence transformed his life, his faith. She was the greatest love of his life and his greatest loss. I have been thinking about the nature of love..What is love? It seems so huge…so immense…so varied …so complex yet again, so simple.

How can you come to love someone through the written word? Are you coming to love a reality or an illusion? I suppose it depends upon what is written. Here lies the difference, I think. In writing of the self there is intimate honesty, a more vulnerable revealing that might be made in the spoken word and therefore, for me anyway, more precious, more deep and sensitive, more honest and ultimately more free. However, words are symbols. They represent a reality that has to be lived eventually. You can’t have a relationship with a text or a letter. Physical presence defines a mature relationship. Otherwise its just too darn easy. There’s not a lot of real investment in a piece of paper or a SMS. You can’t sustain a complex mature relationship when the balance of it is on a page or a screen. But its written word still, symbol, communication from behind the social wall. Is there really an intimate revealing there? Or is it just a manipulation of thoughts and patterns for gain? It is openness or masking?

I think what I have come to realize about love, is that real love does not seek to use someone for itself. Love requires effort and reciprocity. I haven’t come to the point of feeling grateful yet for this crisis. Coming here has put me on a unknown path. I am not thankful yet, but I am sure I will be one day.

So, in coming to learn the nature of connection through the written word I have found a key, sharing. It’s the only thing that replaces loss. Being open and real, holding on to the spirits of our dear ones and feeling their physical nearness. Because life is a gaining and losing, a loving and nothingness, dancing and crying. A dear friend texts me as I write this to tell me of his dancing with his lovely wife to the music of the spheres as the meteors fell last night.

Love is simple. I know that now.

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