Editor's note: "The Spoken Word" is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast.
Have you ever thought of love as an act of courage? It often seems safer to close one's heart, to turn inward and avoid the possibility of heartache. As British writer C. S. Lewis wrote in "The Four Loves": "To love … is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken." It takes faith and hope to truly love another, because there's always the risk of being hurt as we expose our weaknesses, our worries and our dreams.
In the 1930s, young Gordon Hinckley and Marjorie Pay were engaged to be married. But Gordon was worried about the economic realities of marriage during the Great Depression. He opened his heart to his fiancée and, with some anxiety, told her, "I think you should know that I only have $150 to my name."
Marjorie responded with optimism, "Oh, that will work out just fine." She explained, "I had hoped for a husband and now I (am) getting $150 too!" (See "Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley," edited by Virginia H. Pearce)
It was a vulnerable moment, but instead of expressing fear and worry, Marjorie expressed courage, confidence, optimism and even good humor. In other words, she expressed love. They did get married, and their marriage lasted nearly seven decades.
Love gives meaning to life. It's what keeps us going when we feel like giving up; it remains when all else fails. Love never quits and never runs out; it simply endures and overcomes (see 1 Corinthians 13:8 and Moroni 7:46-47).
We all have secret fears, insecurities, desires and dreams that we guard. To share such things with someone else is a sacred act. So when someone is brave enough to give us their heart, we need to hold it gently — with both hands and with love, kindness and respect. Yes, to open your heart in love is risky, but as all who have truly loved know, it's well worth the risk.