Risk, Vulnerability, and Love: Broken versus Unbreakable

When I was a sophomore in college, my music professor at #MiamiDade decided to take our performing arts team, The Highlights, on a singing tour of England. The talented duo Dr. Boos and Jon Secada made sure we were vocally up to par with our Beatles set list (yep—that’s another story altogether), our dance professors brushed up our 80s moves, and we jetted off from Miami to London.

On the plane ride “across the pond,” I penned these angry words in my journal: “I will never, ever fall in love again.” It was a full-power emotional outburst written from the wellspring of a wounded soul. Through a series of heartbreaks and disappointments, I had decided that true love was out of my grasp and was therefore no longer worthy of my time or attention. I had developed what Dr. Henry Morris once called “spiritual cardiosclerosis,” an intentional hardening of the heart.

Little did I know what awakening awaited me on the other side of that plane ride. Little did I know that the God who fashioned the universe—who formed the visible from the invisible, the God in whom and for whom all things consist—had brought me to that day, that hour, that moment on the timeline of history to meet Adrian. (I realize that statement may seem idealistically naive to some, but research Genesis 24 or Psalm 139 or Acts 17 and tell me convincingly that you don’t see a pattern of purposeful and timely relational design outlined in Scripture). 😉 When I look at the specific gifts in our children, whose genotypes and phenotypes are precise combinations of our genetic contributions, gifts, and talents, I stand in awe of “what God has wrought.” Any parent can relate to that sense of wonder. But I digress. 😂

When I met Adrian that day, something shifted inside of me. The livid, I-can-do-it-myself, feminist creed I had previously adopted was suddenly absorbed by a new essence, the radiating warmth of true love. I felt the ice melt off of my stony, frozen heart — not just figuratively, but physically, literally. Over the next two years, we wrote hundreds of letters to each other (pic 2), letters that served as our most vital form of communication in a pre-internet, pre-cell phone age.

I know people don’t really believe in love at first sight very much anymore, but Adrian and I both knew within three days that we were destined to be together. And yes, I’m aware of how cheesy that sounds in today’s cynicism-driven culture. 😉

In his powerhouse book The Four Loves, CS Lewis said this: “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.”

That’s a chilling picture, isn’t it? We can lock our heart up safe in an airless coffin of selfishness and avoidance, but it will not grow stronger — it will become impenetrable.

How about you? Are you taking a risk today to love, to trust, to be vulnerable? I for one am forever thankful that I took that risk on love and letters 32 years ago in Wakefield, England. 💕