A phone call that came into my radio show this past week reminded me that so many in our culture have been hurt so badly they now believe true love is no longer possible. I hate to sound sappy here, but they have literally given up on love.
Somehow we got back on the topic of prenuptials again on my show this past week, and it led to one of the saddest phone calls I have ever received. Keep in mind I've taken more than 100,000 calls since my show began.
A woman named Mary called in and said she believes in prenuptials because her daughter married a lousy guy and, after seven years, he abandoned her and left her poor. I tried to explain to Mary that the beauty of the bond of marriage is it requires a commitment that brings real risk. In fact, I can't think of anything in life more risky than a lifetime commitment required with marriage.
I have long believed emotional pain hurts us so much more than physical pain. Trusting, committing and completely selling out to someone else is a euphoric and unmatched high. Other than completely and totally giving your heart to God, there is no high higher than giving someone you love your heart for life.
But it is also true that giving someone your heart and having them reject you or turn out to be a completely different person than you thought they were is probably the deepest pain known to mankind. With the exception of maybe losing a child, I can't think of anything that would hurt more.
Back to my phone conversation with Mary. I tried to plead with her not to give up on the idea of love just because her daughter's husband was a louse. I told her the beauty of marriage is that it is so risky and the potential of being hurt so intensely is what gives the lifetime commitment such value. Isn't it true most things in life of value require something? Either hard work, sacrifice or taking a huge risk.
When I explained to Mary that I still believe in the idea of love, that I still believe in the idea of giving someone your heart despite the risk, she started laughing as though I were naive, foolish and silly. Mary then said the saddest words I have ever heard on my show. She said, "I am just going to laugh and hang up."
It was clear Mary had been hurt so deeply she no longer believed in completely giving someone your heart. She concluded it wasn't worth the risk. Maybe she's lived her whole life this way. Maybe she was hurt so badly as a child it scarred her for life. Maybe she was hurt as an adult and it caused her to conclude love was no longer worth pursuing. Whatever the reason, it was clear Mary had given up on love.
I fear there are many more Marys out there. Folks who are jaded, angry and bitter because of emotional pain caused by rejection and betrayal in their life.
One of the guarantees in life is that we will experience emotional pain. People will wrong us. The challenge is to find the strength to forgive them. Find the strength to never stop believing in love. Not let our past painful experiences rob us of future happiness.
Make no mistake about it, this is easier said than done. It's not easy to forgive. It's hard to let things go.
So many of us are simply going through the motions of life refusing to open our hearts to others. We fear pain more than we desire love and commitment. This is true with our spouses, co-workers and neighbors. It's no way to live. In fact, living this way is not living at all.
I know in my own life I've found healing from past pains and experienced the ability to forgive through my faith in God. You may have a better approach. But whatever method you employ, just do it.
Life is too precious, rewarding and fulfilling to spend it just going through the motions guarding your heart from potential pain.
Dan Fagan hosts a talk show on KFQD-AM 750. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.