Is Love Worth the Risk?
This piece – Will I Ever Trust Again? – is making the Facebook rounds. The responses to the question? “Nope.” “Never.” “Unfortunately, no.” The comments garnered share a common theme, that the potential benefits of trusting again are not worth the inevitable risk.
And trusting again after betrayal is a risk. Loving again after loss invites insecurity. You can approach it like an actuary, performing calculations of risk assessment to determine the prudent course of action.
I completely understand that urge. In fact, it’s my natural tendency to analyze these things and behave in a way to mitigate risk (case in point – I struggle to even play a nickel slot machine).
But when it comes to trust, to love, I’ve made the decision to approach it in a manner contrary to my inclination.
And it’s all because of watching one woman who loves without limits or qualifiers.
My friend, Sarah, was the one who took me in after my marriage imploded. She and her husband had just brought home an adopted baby – sick and premature – and yet there was no hesitation to let me in.
And I’m watching her in complete admiration now, almost 8 years later, as she navigates the adoption process again.
The baby this time is even more premature than her first, living in a NICU an entire state away. Nothing is certain right now. The adoption process is not finalized and his health, as with most NICU babies, is a rollercoaster of stats and emotions.
But none of that enters into Sarah’s calculations. In the pictures she sends me of this tiny and fragile body nestled against her chest, you can see the unbridled love in her face. This is her child. She is in love. No limits. No walls.
Yes, it’s a risk. Yet in her mind, it’s also not a choice. She understands that love is not something that can be analyzed and controlled. You either submit to it or you don’t experience it.
She didn’t know it, but she was mentor in this that year I lived with her. She had taken a similar risk with her first child, now a happy and healthy 7-year-old. Hell, she took a risk with me, allowing someone in crisis to enter her home and her family and such a critical time.
And during those months, when all I wanted was for the pain to go away and to seal the doors against any possibility of it returning, I watched her. And I began to understand that I had a choice to make.
I could refuse to take that risk. To never again place my faith in someone else. To never again allow someone unfettered access to my heart. It would certainly prevent that pain from ever visiting again.
And then I would see Sarah with her daughter. The rewards that come from taking that risk.
And I knew that I wanted to take that risk again.
I don’t know that I won’t be betrayed again. Gutted again.
But I do know that if I didn’t take the risk, that I would have never felt love again.
And in this case, I’d rather take a risk than a guarantee.