Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Love > fear

On my way to work today, I saw a bumper sticker that said simply, "Love > fear". I smiled at that, and then immediately yelped as a car cut me off (thank youuu Austin drivers). My safety assured, I went back to contemplating that sticker. Love is greater than fear. Ah, but fear is so good at getting in the way of things, making otherwise strong dispositions wither with doubt and insecurity. When it comes to loving anyone, be it family or friends or strangers, fear so easily dilutes the strength of our most basic call: to love one another.

Why do we have fear with love? I feel like that answer can take up an entire blog series: the unknown, the possibility of pain, unrequited feelings, helplessness, anxiety... it goes on and on. Our brains are pretty good at searching for fear and threats; we do it automatically. Sometimes this is good because it means you jump out of the way of a speeding car or run from a hungry lion. Sometimes this response is bad, because in less obvious forms of danger (aka vulnerability), we run away from something that we should be running towards. I'm finding in my life right now, that the more you run from something the more you train yourself that it's dangerous, and therefore worth running from. If we run from love because we fear it's too hard/anxiety provoking/whatever, it just increases the likelihood that we'll keep running. But if we do the opposite, and approach the fear instead, we find that what we thought was a big scary monster, is really nothing but a shadow.

And even if the fear doesn't decrease right away, then maybe we can hope that eventually the love will shine light into those dark corners filled with our worries and doubts.

Love > fear... If only we could truly love each other freely and fully, accepting fear as it is, and loving beyond its lies and limitations. After all, fear is just a feeling, stagnant and transient. But love... love is a choice, an action, something that moves and lives and breathes. So maybe the answer is not to love without fear, but to love despite it.

Seems so easy to write about. Putting it into action seems about as easy as getting over my fear of squirrels (you can't tell me they don't purposely stop in front of speeding cars... crazy demon rodents) and the ocean (um, endless dark abyss filled with flesh-eating sea creatures? Scary!). So yeah, not easy, but probably worth it.

Here's some C.S. Lewis awesomeness to close:

“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." - C.S. Lewis


MarieG said...

Easier said than done :/ But hey, it's a learning process, right?

RebeccaN said...

"Perfect love casts out fear." Beautiful post as always, Britt!