You Are Here To Risk Your Heart

Most of the inspiration for my Daily Devos comes from my reading. When I read, I constantly underline or highlight passages that speak to me, and then I put those highlighted quotes in a file on my computer. 

Sometimes, I journal these quotes or think about them deeply outside the writing context. But when the time feels right, I typically reflect on them here, with all of you. 

I read a quote from author Louise Erdrich some time ago, which I filed away and have been pondering ever since. For some reason, today feels like the day to write about it. 

Here's the first part of the quote: 

Life will break you.  Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love.  You have to feel.  It is the reason you are here on earth.  You are here to risk your heart.  You are here to be swallowed up.  

How many of us resonate with this quote? I know that I do. Life breaks you sometimes. The good news is that being broken isn't forever, but when it happens, it sure feels like it will be. 

The temptation that most of us have at that point is to withdraw, but solitude in all of its forms won't keep us from breaking, nor will it allow us to heal completely. 

The only thing that will bring healing is to open ourselves up to the risk of being broken.  Like Erdrich says, we were not meant to die without risking our hearts over and over again.  

I don't know about you, but when I am on my deathbed, I don't just want to say that I lived; I want to say that I was alive.  

Which brings me to the second part of his amazing quote by Erdrich: 

And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness.  Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could. 

There's something about that last bit that sparks my imagination.  I can picture myself on a hillside apple orchard, looking out over spectacular fall scenery and watching apples fall around me.  

You can see this through the lenses of scarcity, lack, trepidation or abundance, openness, and courage.  

Do we dare live so that we do everything we can to taste as much of life as possible, even though we will get our hearts broken, or do we guard our hearts, protecting them from pain and feeling any amount of true joy? 

It seems an easy choice sitting here right now.

But when the memories of old hurts and the familiar ache of betrayal, brokenness, and loss return, it's far easier to put up our guard, build the walls, and do what we can to keep the world at bay. 

If this sounds like a familiar pattern, don't feel bad.  We all struggle with this to some extent, some more than others.  You are not alone. 

We also have to consider that it would lose its novelty if every day were Christmas. So, every day is not all butterflies and rainbows. Some days are filled with hard things. 

But we can experience more joy daily if we are vulnerable enough to live heart-forward. 

This might look like being vulnerable enough to admit you are not okay.  You might also have to rediscover the gratitude you can feel from occasionally letting other people care for you.  

And all of this is worth the risk of brokenness because how else will we live as though we are truly alive?  

May we all adopt a heart-forward outlook, determined to live every day to the fullest, embracing the many gifts and lessons it brings.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.  


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