“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, The Four Loves
Oh boy…that one really hits me hard! I find that every move I make is a vulnerable move and often wish I had locked my heart up. Just the simple act of breathing in, then exhaling, can be a vulnerable force that sends my heart into a state of anguish. One vulnerable move - whatever it may have been triggered by - sends me down a path that I should avoid. Today it was triggered at a meeting I had to attend for work. In the venue where it was held, there was Christmas music playing as the crowds streamed in. I saw families smiling and hugging. I saw husbands and wives holding hands. I saw children hugging grandparents. Holidays make me that much more vulnerable to an undesired depression that sparks thoughts about things like:
I’ll never hold her hand again. I’ll never see Christmas lights glimmer in her eyes as she looks at me in real adoration again. I’ll never hear her call me by my nickname again. I’ll never feel her snuggle up beside me again. I’ll never see her tuck the kids in bed again. I’ll never watch the cute way she'd cover her mouth with her hand when she’d eat or laugh again. I’ll never hear her give voices to our pets again. I’ll never walk through the snow with her again. I’ll never kiss her freckled cheeks again. I’ll never witness the onset of fall with her again, or watch a sunset with our toes in the Great Pacific, or travel to places we had yet to go...and that list could go on and on. And, that list does go on and on incessantly, in my head. I know it’s unhealthy. I know it is borderline idolatrous. But, it is what I am living right now.
After the divorce, I tried to do things and buy things to make her like me again. This was looked down on and discouraged by just about everyone I know - from my therapist to my children. But I loved her - still do - and did not heed John, Paul, George, and Ringo when they’d scream, “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Flowers, paintings, poems, all sorts of (now, seemingly pathetic) attempts to woo her. It didn’t work. It was perceived as begging and, therefore, unattractive. I wasn’t willing to play the ‘I-don’t-care-about-you’ game though because I really did care and wanted nothing more than to fix the problem, reconcile our love, and get on with living a beautiful life together. I have a friend who doesn’t go to funerals or send flowers to the grave. He says that flowers should be given when someone is alive. He’s not wrong. I’m afraid all of my attempts were very much like leaving flowers on a grave.
All of those actions really held me back. I was warned of this but I didn’t care. I still don’t care. I’m glad I could give gifts to her. She was still worthy of them to me. But, I’m guessing it slowed my healing. I am getting a little better. I used to cry all day every day. Now I just cry a few times a day.
Expect music offerings to dominate Hoarsely Cry. This is another tune that I wish I had written and perfectly expresses how I feel at this moment. Cheers to Elliott Smith for this heart breaking song, “Better Be Quiet Now.” Enjoy.