To love is to be vulnerable. ~ C.S. Lewis

This makes my skin crawl a little. I feel a tightening in my chest. My breath gets shorter. I see my internal self backed into a tight, restrictive corner. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am afraid of what this means and requires. Even more, I am aware that I have not practiced its truth – at least in complete and expansive ways.

My life holds stories in which I have longed for this – both love expressed and vulnerability shown – to no avail. My life holds stories in which I have been the one who has withheld; yes, both love and vulnerability. But my life also holds stories in which both of these have occurred simultaneously; in which I have known levels of vulnerable risk and vulnerable safety; in which I have been given and offered love.

This is the both/and of life: stories of disappointment that invite us to deeper levels of vulnerability and even more tenacious hope. Stories of such ecstasy and joy that we cannot help but risk dangerously again and again for more of the same.

This is the both/and of all good stories. Rich, gorgeous, juicy stories. The kind we love to sink our teeth and souls into. The kind we find ourselves in. The kind we lose ourselves in. The kind we live in every day. If we but will.

To live in measured, tenuous ways will never invite such narrative. And to live without vulnerability, though seemingly far more balanced and safe, will prevent us from knowing either the depths or heights of love.

Vulnerability is unnerving. Life is risky. Love even more so.