True love is not safe.


True love is a lot of things

Love is patient, love is kind. Love is light, love is warm.

As I once described it: “Love is my trump card, my winning lotto ticket, my night-light, my soft blanket, my wide smile, my huge hug. Love is my hope, and my laughter, and my promise to keep trying.”

And love is certainly greater than fear.

But safe?


True love is not safe

Most of us, says teacher Susan Piver, claim we are looking for love, when really we are looking for safety.

I have often been guilty of this.

As she asserts, I have said that I want to fall in love—but what I have really meant is:

“I want to be protected. I want to be able to stop freaking out about who I am and what my life is, and I want to stop questioning if I have any value as a human being.”

The argument goes that if we can find someone to love us, we can “set all those things to rest and calm down.”

But that is not how it works.

“There is nothing less safe than love,” says Piver. “And there is no way to make it safe. And if you do make it safe, it’s no longer love.”

We have a choice to make

As Piver puts it, “We want the glory and grace and profundity and passion and bliss of falling in love. But then we want to make it manageable. And it will never be manageable.”

Okay. Ouch! But I get it.

Love, particularly in the context of a romantic relationship, is unsafe. It is unmanageable. It cannot be acquired or controlled.

So now what?

I choose to give love

It is respectable to say no thanks. It is okay to avoid risk, if that is the path you most need to take.

But me? I need to love anyway.

“To find love, to be love, to give love, we have to be vulnerable,” says Piver.

I agree.

And being vulnerable is not always easy. In fact, it can be very scary. But there is a lovely loophole.

When I give, I am protected

Because, to echo one of my favorite prayers, it is in giving that we receive.

And so each day I ask that I may seek to love, rather than to be loved.

Because while true love may not be safe, it is always available.

And although I cannot always control how I receive it, when I give love, I always have it.

Love > fear,