: Sophomores Carolyn Baird, Tori McCord (NFHS) and Lydia Lindsey (Central High School) enjoy their time spent together at Browns Bridge Community Church. (Photo used with permission of Tori McCord).

Rachel McCord, Staff Writer

I recently experienced one of those moments where I looked in the mirror and thought, “I am so incredibly unlovable.” I am sure all of us have had some of these moments when we realized it is not always easy for others to love us, and we can fill in the blanks for the reasons why. While I completely agree that each person is valuable and important, there is some truth in this realization.

As C.S Lewis said: “We are all receiving charity. There is something in each of us that cannot naturally be loved. It is no one’s fault if they do not love it. You might as well ask people to like the taste of rotten bread or the sound of a mechanical drill. We can be forgiven and pitied and loved in spite of it, with charity and no other way” (The Four Loves 133).

The realization that it is not always easy and natural for others to love me was a hard pill to swallow. My initial reaction was to lock myself inside my mind; to spare them the trouble of being forced to love me or pretend as if they did.

It did not take very long for me to realize the selfishness behind this idea. Of course, my primary concern was for my reputation. No one wants to think of themselves as annoying, awkward, or as possessing any other undesirable trait. However, while this unlovable part of us is very present, so is a very radiant and beautiful part.

While we do all have a part of ourselves that is difficult to love, each of us also possesses a gift that is a reflection of God. Maybe it is our smile or our desire to serve others; maybe it is the warmth and sincerity in our hugs, our compassion or our leadership abilities. Whatever our gift may be, that gift is wanted – no – needed. To deprive the world of this beautiful gift that we posses is harmful not only to each of us, but also to those around us. C.S Lewis puts this perfectly in his book The Four Loves:  “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness” (121).

Opening your heart to someone and sharing your gifts as well as exposing the not so pretty parts of yourself can be dangerous and terrifying. We are not called to play it safe in order to avoid rejection or exposure. Instead, we are called to be vulnerable and to love radically and pour out our gifts generously, whatever this may mean for each individual. Lewis goes on to say: “But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable,  irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbations of love is Hell” (121).

We are all guilty of attempting to hide within our caskets at some point in our lives. Our caskets can take many different forms: video games, sports, alcohol, success in school or a career, and the list goes on. While not all of these are bad or detrimental to our spiritual or physical selves, our obsession with them and the reasoning behind that obsession is harmful. We pour all our time and energy into an activity to hide, mainly from ourselves, our reluctance to be exposed.

It is so critical to realize the potential that each of us has and is able to bring to the table. We may not be perfect, but we do still have something to offer. Anything good in us is a reflection of God’s goodness, and safety is not an excuse to hide this. We never know, our light may be the spark that opens someone else’s eyes to their potential.  As C.S. Lewis so brilliantly points out: “In each of my friends, there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out” (61).