July 3, 2011
What do you think it means to guard your heart?
People set up walls and barriers—social, emotional, spatial, geographic—to protect their inner world from relationships. Approached this way, guarding one’s heart becomes focused around finding ways to shut out potentially hurtful experiences. This approach brings mixed results—some helpful, some destructive, most a frustrating combination of both. Unchecked, this approach leads to refusal to risk, reluctance to love, and, ultimately, rejection of relationships since life offers few experiences that come with guaranteed immunity from pain.
When we learn that there is no free lunch, most of us are neither blessed nor pleased. When this principle becomes unavoidably clear, as it inevitably does, we do considerable grumbling about the cost of the items we want to place in our lunch box. However, some individuals, when they discover that there is indeed no free lunch, simply decide not to eat. This decision may appear economically advantageous, but the relational consequence of such logic is disastrous. If we structure life’s choices into an arbitrary dualism—free lunch or nothing—we discover that slow relentless diminishment begins to erode away the essential self. Relationships, like lunch, are not free, but they are essential. This cost, while unavoidable, can be influenced. While it remains true that there is no free lunch, we all can choose how much, and in what coinage we choose to pay.
Neither shut down or shut out appear to work well as general principles of relationship.
What does work? What does it mean to guard one’s heart?
Thinking with you about choosing the cost of change through relationship.
See you next week.