Can we experience love without loss?

Yesterday I was reading a Crucible article, “Is God as Good as We Think?”, which examined C. S. Lewis’ reflections on grief and God. I was struck by this passage in particular:

…emotional pain and suffering, such as grief or loneliness, can be debilitating though those feelings reflect the attachments we make. One way to avoid grief is not to form attachments and not to love any other creature. This would require denial of our own needs and isolate us from the communities in which we live. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in a poem: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Interestingly, Lewis wrote on 14 July 1960, “One doesn’t realise early in life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy one must be tied.”

This comes very close to explaining why I shifted from Buddhism to Christianity back in my early twenties. Quite simply, I found the path of nonattachment saved me from suffering, sure, but I think Tennyson (and Jesus) had it right. To open ourselves to love we have to open ourselves to loss. And sometimes such openness can be transformative.

One thought on “Can we experience love without loss?

  1. I have had a very similar line of thought on this topic as well. It seems that we humans do a lot of our growing during the most painful times in life. I look back on any painful moment and I can tangibly feel some of the lessons I learned and graces I gained in those experiences.
    In my studies I had a teacher that would call pain and illness a “cosmic 2 x 4” that would hit you abruptly to get your attention, telling you something is out of balance. Surrendering to both the good and the bad feelings allows us to live openly with the ability to understand all others through our own experiences the way we have been taught by Jesus. I feel that suffering is a part of the human experience that will open our eyes to how real and transforming the power of love is.
    Many Blessings!


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