Wednesday, September 21, 2011

on my heart

The thing about the human heart is that, like the earth, it is much deeper than most of us immediately give it credit for. Sometimes we plant seeds in its soil, and the stems grow, and the flowers blossom for a time, and then the winter freeze rolls in and we know that those tender petals we once caressed to life are dead and gone. We imagine them reabsorbed into our very being to be re-distributed for another use, another season, galvanizing us against the next winter, whenever it may come. And then a strange turn of events can reveal to us, still swaying in the wind and reaching for the sun, the garden we long took for dead.

The discovery can be so shocking that it casts a new light on everything that’s happened in our lives since we first thought we laid our garden to rest. Maybe everything we’ve done since that moment has led us to this singular re-discovery. Maybe all the work, all the growth, all the choices, the mistakes - maybe it was all some cosmic plan to till the soil of our hearts, to ready us for the season of harvest. It's been said that an insight the size of a mustard seed can bring down a mountain-sized illusion that's holding our lives together. It’s at this point that maybe the anger comes, the protest - we thought we knew ourselves so well. We thought we had sufficiently healed the heartbreak that came when we turned our backs on those blooms, casting them in a shadow to ensure their demise. How dare they continue to thrive in the darkness, and how dare they reveal themselves to us again, now.

It’s not like we’ve been miserable. We’ve been the opposite of miserable - we’ve discovered levels of joy and exhilaration beyond what we believed possible. We’ve gotten to know ourselves better than ever before, we’ve grown to love ourselves more than we ever considered permissible. We’ve been so happy we cried and cried so much we laughed. We’ve gotten healthier, we’ve gotten stronger, we've gained understanding. We’ve learned, we've loved. Which is why this discovery is all the more unsettling. How could we,
in our happiness, have been so unaware of the truth? Where was our secret garden this whole time?

So the problem becomes what we do with what we’ve found.
Do we simply sit and observe for a while?  Do we pick the buds and string them purposefully through our hair as it grows long? Do we water them, thereby encouraging them to grow taller? Do we one-by-one yank them out by their roots, painstakingly making room for some new breed to grow in their place? The whole venture becomes increasingly absurd and unreasonable - we begin to legitimately question our sanity, and we feel so painfully alone, as if we're sure that no one else in the history of the world has ever felt this way - it's too foreign, too strange. None of it makes any sense. We might ask ourselves, we might ask the universe, we might ask God: what is this trickery? What is going on? We feel like an old piece of rock being polished - run through a spinning buffer and then tossed around in a river with no banks in sight. But why? What is this strange alchemy?

The answer, of course, is Love. The answer is always Love. And if Love isn’t the answer, we’re probably not asking the right questions. Love isn’t black and white, it isn’t linear. It doesn’t fit inside any
chronological framework we’ve created to interpret the events of our lives. It doesn’t adhere to the rules we’ve written for ourselves, nor does it acknowledge the density of the walls we've built. It doesn’t implore us to focus on the bad times, only on the good. Or, rather, it humbly turns our attention to all times equally. Winter, spring, summer, and fall are all the same in the eyes of Love. A field of flowers is the same as a field blanketed in the thickest snow.

Someone planted in me the seeds of Love long ago, and it took learning this lesson for me to finally see them begin to mature: in loving others,
I am actually loving parts of my own heart, a perennial garden of buds only beginning to break through the ice of a long and stealthy frost. The polishing continues.

1 comment:

  1. So, it seems we have to experience the angst, hurt in order to grow... GF, you are wise beyond your years... Right now, I am being tested by my son... and the life lesson I am learning is to learn to let go... I have to an extent but w/him- he is beyond compromise... and if he wasn't living w/me, I would not be involved.... You are absolutely right, love is not black nor white.. Neither are folks in their thinking... There's a lot of grey out there...