I am usually a quick learner when it comes to concrete tasks, but learning abstract things—not so much. I am abstract-challenged. (I am also spatially-challenged, and maybe they go hand-in-hand.)
When it comes to learning about myself and my emotional/spiritual/psychological self—those abstract characteristics—I have to admit that I am a slow learner. Processing new information about myself can take a long time.
Thankfully, God is very patient and never seems to tire of reminding me of areas where I need to change and grow.
At Mass last Sunday, three heart messages caught my attention. After the third, I wondered if anyone else in the congregation was getting this message or was God mainly speaking to me? I also wondered when I would actually get the message—take it in and make it a part of myself so that God (and I) can move on to something new. God has been inviting me to soften my heart for as long as I can remember.
And there they were last Sunday—three references to the heart, to my heart.Last weekend, I also did a major house cleaning and clearing out, including journals from the past twenty years. My plan had been to read them one more time and save anything that seemed important, but I could not seem to get started on that project. One day, it occurred to me to just throw them all away. Even thinking that thought made me feel lighter and freer. And when I hauled the contractor-size black trash bag to the curb, I felt a space open up inside me.
I am done with the past; I want to move on into the future. I want a fresh start.But there was God reminding me of my heart. If I had taken the time to read my old journals, I know the heart theme would be a thread throughout. Will I ever get the message? Will I ever make the leap of faith that will move me toward becoming a soft-hearted person?
Open my heart, I pray
To happiness—and yes, even to the possibility of pain and sorrow. They go hand in hand.Open my heart, I pray. Create fissures where fear can escape and light can get in. Create spaces in my heart, gaps ready to be filled in—with trust, hope and love.I want love, hope and trust and the blessings they will bring. I want a heart big enough to hold pains and sorrows and still have room for love—a heart that won’t shy away from grief but be pliable enough to hold both loss and hope.I pray that God reshape my heart into something more closely aligned with his vision for me, a heart able to absorb the pain and sorrow of my life and of the world, able to live with loss—and still see beauty and hope—and to embrace the gift in all of it.