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The Fear of Love

August 24, 2011

We have all been wounded.  Many of us bear the deep scars of a less than perfect childhood. Perhaps our parents didn’t, or couldn’t love us the way we needed to be loved, alas, the way all children deserve to be loved. Or, maybe another person or experience left a mark on our psyche or heart so painful that we put in place cleverly devised layers of protection to keep us safe from future harm.

Self-protection has its benefits, but it also has its dangers. The longer we live and the more we have loved and lost, the more likely we are to be weighed down by our own cleverness. We may even feel smug about our ability to “carry on” in spite of life’s eventualities, or to turn the other cheek with increasing ease. We may, in fact, simply be numb.

If you look into the face of an innocent child who was loved into awakening, you will see the wide-eyed innocence of easy trust, acceptance and love…a love that flows freely without boundaries or limitations or expectations.  That once was us.

We may never be able to go back to the point of perfect innocence, but if we dare, we can choose to stare down our fears, choose to open our hearts and choose to love again.  We can decide to no longer let the past control our willingness to open our hearts today. We have surely reached the point in our lives where we can trust our ability to survive hurt and loss. We have done it many times before. We may know the pain that open, trusting, unsuspecting love can bring, but we also know its deep abiding  joy and life-giving power as well.

We owe it to ourselves and to those who come into our lives today to keep taking the risk to love and be loved. It is the only real way to know the fullness of life. After all, as the song says, “it is the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance”.

 “The Rose”

Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
and you its only seed.

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken,
who cannot seem to give,
and the soul afraid of dyin’
that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been to long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun’s love
in the spring becomes the rose.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2011 12:18 pm

    Amen, Dorothy! Beautiful. Yet so hard to seem to accomplish.

  2. August 24, 2011 12:23 pm

    Wonderful article Dorothy. No matter how we’ve been hurt in the past we should never give up on love. Life without love is no life at all.

  3. Caroline permalink
    August 24, 2011 1:12 pm

    Beautifully said, beautifully sung. It’s only fear and mistrust that closes us up to love. And that fear and mistrust could have been planted in us decades ago! If we want to live fully in this stage of our lives, we must take the risk of letting go of the fear and learning to trust. Not east, but what’s the alternative? A continuation of a closed life.

  4. August 24, 2011 3:21 pm

    Beautififul post,Dorothy. The song takes me back to a bittersweet time in my life in 1983 when I was trying to decide about moving my two children out of state for a job opportunity. The move meant leaving their father who though he was in the same city was not available to them. It was the point where I had given up hope that he would ever be available to them. The song gave me hope that moving on would give us the chance to make a life of our own.I found the strength to make that decision. I also chose “The Rose” for the mother-son dance at my wedding to my current husband in 2001. Thank you for this reminder that walking through our fears and moving on in love can bring many blessings;that sometimes our greatest obstacles can lead to our greatest blessings.

    • August 24, 2011 4:07 pm

      Kathleen, I too had this song played at my wedding in 1982, primarily because it articulated what my husband and I both felt (and still do) as we chose to risk again by loving and marrying each other. My experience of daring to risk with him was probably the foundation upon which I have come to believe the things I wrote in the post. I remember clearly making a conscious decision to love again and after almost 30 years I have never been sorry. But even in the best of relationships we hurt one another and the decision to keep loving and risking must sometimes be made over and over again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I feel a powerful connection with your words and experiences. DS

  5. De De permalink
    August 25, 2011 9:01 am

    Dorothy,
    Absolutely beautiful and I can totally relate! After my divorce in 1978 I did not trust any man. My husband left me for a woman he worked with and almost totally wrote the children out of his life for many, many years. At that time and for many years I felt that all men were #$@&* . It took many years of working through the pain, anger, and difiiculties of being a single mom of 3 young girls. I didn’t know it then, but it would change my life forever, and not in a bad way but a good way. I became a totally different person and when I met my future husband i was ready to risk again. We dated for 2 years even though I knew he was the one. He asked me to marry him several times and I said I wasn’t ready. I was so afraid of loving and losing again and the heartache! In fact he told me to ask him when I was ready. I finally saw that he was a good man, ready to love me and join me in this venture we call life! I have never regretted the day I asked him to marry me! But it took almost 10 years to get to that point. Lots of soul searching and lots of growing into the woman I am today. It is well worth the risk to open our hearts to love when we are ready. We are only here on this earth a few short years, I feel we should fill those years with love!

    • August 25, 2011 12:54 pm

      DeDe, Thank you so much for sharing this snippet of your life’s journey. Yours is a powerful story ~ life and love affirming at its core! It clearly took a lot of courage to travel your path but I can see it was worth the effort to you, and certainly to your now husband! The fact that he was able to allow you to grow into the relationship is a testament to his character as well!

      (Too bad we can’t see the outcome when we’re going through the “ring of fire”! Right?) DS

  6. August 25, 2011 10:05 am

    Agree with all that this is a beautiful, inspiring post. And The Rose is one of my all time favorite songs. Some things for me to ponder and a great way to start the day. thanks, Dorothy!

    • August 25, 2011 12:59 pm

      Powerful words combined with beautiful music and sung by a passionate voice can express the depth of a concept far better than one of them can do alone. At least for me. Thanks Kathy! DS

  7. August 28, 2011 3:42 pm

    This is so true! It’s always a risk to love, yet if we don’t take that risk, we may never know the great joy of loving. Lovely post. Thank you!

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