The surest way to open yourself to hurt is to love…

I’ve said it before, I love happily ever afters. I love books that you close with a happy sigh and want to pick up again someday and reread. The great thing about happily ever afters is that while they occur at the end of a book, inherent in them is that life moving forward is happy and the end is nebulous. Your favorite heroine never grows old, she is surrounded by those she loves and she never loses her hero.

The reality of course is that we do grow old, our loved ones pass away and the pain can be excruciating. One of the fairy godmothers who helped me launch Highland Solution, Sue-Ellen Wellfonder, lost a beloved friend late last night. Her heart is aching and mine is aching for her. For those of us who believe this life is not the end, perhaps there is a small measure of comfort. We will see those we love again. Still, at times like this that promise feels too far away to lessen the immediate grief.

Why do we do this? Why do we choose to love when we know the pain that will accompany inevitable loss? In Highland Solution an elderly priest tells Katherine, “You have learned the surest way to open yourself to hurt is to love and yet you love anyway.”

I think the answer is simple. It’s worth it. Who among us would elect a heartache free existence if to do so meant that we would never feel the joy of love either?

Roads go ever ever on, to the lands beyond the sea,
On a white ship will I sail, watching shadows part for me.
Leaving havens grey with rain, now that years have slipped away,
Leaving friends with gentle pain, as they start another day.

Roads I traveled I must leave, for I’ve turned the final bend’
Weep not empty tears but grieve as the road comes to an end.

It’s so easy not to try,
Let the world go drifting by,
If you never say hello,
You won’t have to say goodbye.

–Written by Glenn Yarbrough
for the 1980 animated movie The Return of the King.

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6 Responses to The surest way to open yourself to hurt is to love…

  1. I hurt or her also. I teared up reading her feelings.
    What you said had me thinking about my Dad when he lost his dog from a snake bite. He said he wouldn’t get another animal because it hurt too bad to lose them. To this day, he hasn’t. Realistically, we love knowing there will be death, eventually, because a life without love would have no meaning. Without that pain, there is no growth. I know Sue-Ellen will meet with him again, even though the pain now is terrible. It will make the “recognition” another time greater.

    • cecigiltenan says:

      I was an oncology nurse for years. I think back tonight over all the lovely souls I had the privilege of knowing and caring for, if only briefly. Still, I guess like Katherine, the fact that love is linked with pain has never stopped me from loving. I can’t help but believe the pain of loss is better than never knowing the love.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this. I am deeply, deeply touched by every beautiful word and appreciate your thoughtfulness and caring so much. It is terrible for me, yes. And my heart breaks for my dear friend, Jola, who has lost not just her husband but her soul mate. I believe as you say… the pain and sorrow is the price we pay for loving, and being loved. I also believe as Leah and you mention, that we see our loved ones again.

    Tonight I am raw from the sadness, though.

    And I agree about our characters. Would that real life was as kind.

  3. Mary Morgan says:

    Aww…Ceci, what a beautiful tribute. We mourn the physical, but will always have the spiritual….I could never imagine my life without the love of friends and family. To feel the pain of loss means that I have touched the heart of love.

  4. cecigiltenan says:

    I agree Mary. But it certainly does leave one’s heart feeling blistered at times like this. 😦

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