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.