"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Wringing of the Wrought Heart

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. (C. S. Lewis)

As you know by now, I love the ocean. As I stare into the vast waters, I imagine other lands, other lives and realize that the world is so great in size and possibility. One of my favorite meals to eat while at the sea is lobster. I can eat lobster everyday..... at least I could have until last month when I ate a large beast with some bad sauce on it sending me into the dark night of the stomach. Twelve wretched hours of violent food poisoning cured me for all time.

This summer there is a over-abundance of lobster in New England. They are practically giving it away in supermarkets and I can't eat it! Last night my sister ate a beautiful red baby right in front of me, and I didn't even flinch...didn't care....

Because I no longer enjoy lobster, one small piece of my joy, my engagement in life is gone. Yes, it's only food, but it stood for something deeper to me. I was living passionately when I was able to smell the sea and then taste it in my food. I could feel the richness of New England red in the palm of my hand as I broke the tail open and watched the juices run through my fingers. Dipping the tender white meat in butter created great anticipation in me as I knew it would make it's way to my lips and into my mouth where my joy would be made complete.

Life is filled with passionate opportunities, love being the greatest. When we love we engage in all of our senses. We view the beauty of the one before us, touching their smooth skin and looking into their tender eyes. We feel the warmth of their embrace telling us that everything is going to be alright and that we are not alone in this world. We hear the sound of their voice, their laugh, their love and we know that we are valued, in loving them we know that we are truly alive, full, whole.

To lose the one you love is the gravest of all sadnesses, whether to death or by rejection. When you join your heart with that of another, whose soul walks hand in hand with yours, whose laugh joins in a loud song of joy that reaches to the heavens only to lose them, the pain seems more than you can bear. Your heart feels it cannot go on and revolts in wretched twisting as you spew the love from your system. Hours turn into days and the days turn into weeks.... months... sometimes years.

After the detox process it is tempting to never want to taste of love again, for the pain brought at the loss of it was too great. The temptation is to throw ourselves into work, hobbies and little material treasures that guard our hearts and keep them too busy to feel the loss. We lock our souls up in a deeply sealed cave choosing never to experience the intensity of so great a grief again.

CS Lewis, a great scholar and author was also tempted to do that. Married later in life, he lost his wife to illness soon after marriage. Lewis knew that a heart turned to stone is sadder than a heart broken for the heart that was broken is still made of flesh, and though in pain is still bearing life. We are life in this world, and must continue to bring life to all that is around us. We cannot do that by choosing to close ourselves off but by remaining open and vulnerable.

Turning the heart to stone is a hidden process partaken by most if not all of us. It's almost impossible to stay vulnerable and real. Often we don't even know what parts of us have been shut down, closed off. Ever so gradually, as the frog in the kettle, our hearts slowly harden until one day we realize that we are but a shadow of our former selves. The child in us, free, trusting and passionate has been locked away in a dungeon and we are the dragon holding the key.

Life is hard, I know.... Putting yourself out there to be hurt seems futile, silly. Consider the alternative. To avoid all "entanglements" is to choose death.

Today, examine your hearts... are they still beating? Do you still have the capacity to love? Are you open to others? Keep your heart alive... it's good for the soul!

No comments:

Post a Comment