I’ve been working out some things for the third book in my series this week. And as such, I’ve been thinking about the very different motives and actions of my heroes and villains. Their inner battles extend far beyond themselves, impacting those around them, and in some cases world events with far reaching consequences.
I came upon this quote from Lewis, and as so often happens with his writings, the truth of it touched on some of the thoughts that have already been running through my head. It explains so well why our best heroes seem to be those who have lost the most, but continue to fight on anyway. And why our darkest villains seem beyond hope, with no capacity for compassion. Their hearts have become unbreakable, and therefore, irredeemable.
This is not some literary cliche–it is the inescapable truth of our nature. Most of us are somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, but as we look to the extreme ends of it, we find the pure, sacrificial, love of Christ, which is also the ultimate picture of vulnerability and brokenness through the cross. And at the other we have Satan–absolute selfishness, without love; unbreakable, and irredeemable. When life and love causes us pain, to which end of this spectrum do we run? Do we go there because of who we are, or because of who we aspire to be? Something profound to mull on a Sunday, and also some hope for those with broken hearts. There is some good that comes from it after all, even though it doesn’t always seem that way.
“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, and irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves