The Book of Love

Love is a skill. We’re all still learning. Here are some things I’ve picked up along the way.

Reflections on love:

  • Chesterton: “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”
  • Dostoevsky: “Brothers, love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is difficult to acquire, it is dearly bought, by long work over a long time, for one ought to love not for a chance moment but for all time. Anyone, even a wicked man, can love by chance.”
  • Lewis: “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 Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
  • “Love is … attachment. It hurts like hell, but it’s healthy.”
  • Chesterton: “I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
  • Lewis: “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”
  • Vanier: “While we are alone, we could believe we loved everyone. Now that we are with others, living with them all the time, we realise how incapable we are of loving, how much we deny to others, how closed in on ourselves we are.”
  • Chesterton: “Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”
  • Lewis: “God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them.”

On love in general:

On love and friendship:

  • “A good friend is someone with whom you can be completely quiet, and it’s not awkward, not even one bit.”
  • But also: There is always time to talk.