"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 to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entaglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness."
The context of this quote is the fourth love in C.S. Lewis's work, charity. That being the case, I realize this isn't necessarily referring to romantic love. In fact, I think it refers to all types of possible relationships where love is an outlet of the relationship. Whether it be family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, or a significant other - love is a dangerous and murky territory to enter. It requires an investment and yes, true deep love does require vulnerability.
However, I know I must so often be on guard in falling in the trap that C.S. warns against. Because love requires us to be vulnerable, it so often hurts us when it doesn't work out like we want. When that happens my natural reaction has always been to return to something safe - those hobbies and little luxuries of life. To me, in high school and college, it was always running and academics. Both outlets always offered a consistent positive reward if investment was given. Not so with people, and thus I had to make sure I didn't close up in these worlds alone.
And really that is still a danger today, if not more so. The more I try to love the more I realize it hurts. Losing a family member that so much was invested in - hurts. Having friends move to foreign countries or even different states where you don't see them as oft as you'd like - hurts. Trying to get to know a girl where ultimately there is no reciprocation - hurts.
But, that is why Lewis gives us a strong urging at the end of this paragraph. I end with it. "...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 same from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."