Monday, August 14, 2006


OK – so anyway, I have this really lovely friend who was taking a fairly innocent stroll through the landscape of my life, and accidentally fell into a big hole in my heart. I don’t think either of us knew it was even there, well-camouflaged as it had been by an apparent confidence. But fall he did, making me suddenly and painfully aware of the existence of this hole.

Now my heart has had room for the infinitesimal/infinite space occupied by G*d, and I’ve made cramped but cozy quarters for myself, but room for anyone else has been on a time-share basis. There was room for someone to stop by for a short while, but not for long, and never exclusively. And then suddenly here’s my friend, taking up space as well.

So I’ve alternated between trying to get him out of there altogether, and borrowing space from other things to accommodate his presence. But neither one was the right answer – that I could tell. This is the choice I’ve been making my whole life…staying in the little space in my heart that I’ve carved out, and vigilantly guarding it against intruders.

It’s a sucky choice. It creates some artificial construct that you have to constantly choose between yourself and others. And this is, for me, a subject about which I could write/talk for days. So I’ll save that for another time. But in thinking about this choice I was trying to figure out what I could do wholeheartedly – what could I say “yes” to completely.

And it hit me in the way that very obvious things often do, that I can’t do anything wholeheartedly with a big hole in my heart. It’s an absolute contradiction in terms. There isn’t really a choice between me and someone else, or between accepting and rejecting friendship. In fact, the issue isn’t about choices at all. The issue is about healing…not how do I accommodate or eject this person from my heart, from my life, but how do I heal this hole in my heart?

After this inspiration, all I could think was, “duh.” In that world-weary cynical-teenager kind of way – “duh.” So simple. And it has felt so intense and complicated because I’ve been trying to think my way through a problem that is, in fact, non-existent. I see this at work – people trying to solve problems without understanding the underlying issue at hand, and so their solutions are always ineffective. Get distracted enough by the wrong thing, and you can work your fingers to the bone and never get anywhere.

So I’ve been working on the whole healing process thing, which is another story in itself, but let me just say it helps to work with good people.

What I’m seeing is that when the heart heals, when the gaps and tears and holes are repaired, its natural capacity is restored – literally, whole-heartedness. And the thing with wholeheartedness is that you don’t have to choose between anything. The heart has this amazing capacity to grow and strengthen and expand according to the need. There’s plenty of space for me, complete accommodations for the subtle presence of G*d, and actually plenty of love and room enough for anyone else.

So now I don’t have to worry about anyone falling into the hole in my heart. The repair work is well underway, and while my heart is still a little tender, it is stronger with each passing moment. And very soon this will be one of those things I can’t believe seemed so complicated at the time!

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