The coffin of selfishness

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to 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. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

This has long been one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes, from his book “The Four Loves.” It has inhabited the “About Me” section of my Facebook page for years, and I have referenced it occasionally in conversations with others. A couple weeks ago, I heard someone else reference it for the first time, as one of the pastors at a youth conference I was attending taught on the need for us to be more vulnerable in life.

C.S. Lewis provides incredible insight into many aspects of life, and this quote is amazing in that as much as it applied when he first wrote these words, it applies far more today. Our world has been progressing toward individualism for decades, as technology becomes better, smaller and more “personal.” From the creation of the “personal” computer, we have seen this focus on the individual. Heck, virtually every Apple product or application starts with the letter “i,” and this has been done intentionally to direct people towards their own individual lives rather than the community.

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