Love and Pain

image (1)“The best thing in life is not the thing we want the most. The best thing is to love. The thing we want the most is to be loved. The most fearsome thing is not loving, but the thing we fear the most is not being loved.

Why do we fear that the most? Because it gives us the most pain.

To love is to give your heart away into someone else’s hands. To give your heart away is to be vulnerable to pain. If you give your heart away, it will certainly be broken, many times. But the only whole heart is a broken heart. Love and pain are a package deal. The only way to avoid pain is to avoid love, to give your heart to no one, to put a security system around it. It will be safe there in the freezer. But it will not beat. It will freeze. (In Dante, the lowest realm of Hell is not fire but ice).

We give too much of our hearts to little things, like image and control, that are not worth the pain. More important, we give too little of our hearts to big things, like loving God and our families, because we unconsciously fear the pain. In making this foolish calculation, we forget one thing: that love’s joy always outweighs love’s pain in the end; that no sane person has ever said on his deathbed: “I shouldn’t have loved so much. I shouldn’t have put out so much. I should have kept my heart in the freezer.” Long before that, if there is love, then there is a joy even in the pain of making free, willing sacrifices and freely accepting the unwilled pains. And even when that joy takes a while to come, there is always the peace that comes from knowing that you did the right thing.” Peter Kreeft in Before I Go: Letters to Our Children about What Really Matters

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