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Lamott: Enduring the Beams of Love

INTERVIEWER: You write about that wonderful line from Blake, that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love. Some have recoiled at the thought of that. 

It’s just awful. I really think it’s the hardest work we do. That and letting go, letting go, letting God, letting go. I’ve always said that everything I’ve let go of has claw marks on it. And it's true--even though it gets a little tiny bit easier every year. So letting go and enduring the beams of love are the challenges.

We’re really girded against being that open and that permeable for obvious reasons.  You protect yourself as a child and as a teenager and from the pain of love and the pain of being hurt in love and the pain of the death of people that you are so, so, so dependent on.
Everything in us teaches us to put up walls and get the surface just right and never go out without the armor on. Then we come into circumstances where the armor and the wall won’t work anymore--either because we’re so sick, or because someone we love intimately is so sick, that we don’t have the luxury of keeping the walls up and the surface looking nice and enviable.
It turns out to be, as my friend said about his facial disfigurement, an elaborately disguised gift from God. …I have had the shield come down and it’s like the wonderful Leonard Cohen song that there are cracks in everything and that’s how the light gets in.

- Anne Lamott, interviewed on Beliefnet.com