I wonder if the flowing waters beneath the iced over surface of a frozen river ever react in utter resistance to the warming temperatures, glaring in shocked reaction:
“Wait! I’m not ready to be yet again exposed. I do not want anyone to see my real whole self, the beauty of my heart, the genuine fluid nature to my flowing being.…Wait! I do not know that I am ready to be so open and available yet again for another season of being used, sailed on, swam in, rowed through! …
Wait! Please, how will I know if they’re really celebrating me for the mighty wonderful river that I am? Wait! Please, just a few more months of cold, icy, hardened surface. Life is so much safer that way. I can dance without being seen. Be still beneath the rough edges. Wait! Please….I’m not ready!!!”
But in truth, with the coming of spring, it’s inevitable, the ice melts away exposing the wonder of the river yet again. I know. I just jogged along the Charles yesterday. And there she was. Flowing and reflecting the sun’s light in harmonious splendor. I’ve missed her. I wonder if she knows that.
And as I paused and thought about that along her edge, I found myself asking the same question: Am I ready to melt the hardened surface that’s encaved my heart for so many months now? And I’m ready to let people ‘in’ again? To let them see whatever they’re able to, inspite of my intense fear they will once again not see me for who am I? Maybe that is part of the wall I must let go…expecting that I won’t be seen. But am I ready?
So here’s the next ‘layer’ I’m trying to shed (see first post: ‘Taking off ‘dem boots and dancin’). I’m trying to let down that icy wall that’s hidden my heart.
But…again, am I ready? It’s an important question I’m asking myself of late. Especially since I’m growing weary and weak of harboring this distance between myself and my fellow man. You see, enough times feeling used, mistreated, taken advantage of, or simply ‘not seen’ and yeah, I suppose anyone would justify hardening their outer shell and preventing a glimpse of their real self.
Take one look around you during any given day. How many people you walk by, pass up on the street, drive by and don’t acknowledge. Or when’s the last time you actually stopped and listened for a response when you said ‘Hey, how ya doin’ to the person you passed by?
Now, I’m not writing to size anyone up, I’m rather joining hands with you. We all build up walls of some kind and we all have justifiable reasons for doing so. But I’ve had to ask myself of late whether living like I have been is really working for me…and quite honestly, the answer is no.
Yet still, if I sat down with you and told of you all the times I’ve been misjudged by family or loved ones, all the times I’ve been shunned, booted out of someone’s life, dissed, even at times abandoned, well, you might wonder why I even bother. And I’m sure I could sit down with you and hold your hands and hold you as you told me of your own war wounds. And while sometimes it feels comforting on the surface to vent about our pasts, I’ve had to ask myself of late, “Hey Tre, is this getting you any further along where you want to go?”
And I’ve had to answer quite honestly no.
For where I seek “to go” is to be true to my heart. And being true to my heart means that I resolve to daily live out my oneness—my inseparable relationship to God, divine Love. And for me that means to take each one of my thoughts and weigh them and see whether or not each one of my thoughts, each one of my feelings, is rooted and based and grounded in unselfed love, genuine goodness and forgiveness.
And you know what? The only thing that holds a wall up around my heart is the exact opposite of these feelings—all the stuff defended by self will, self justification.
Picture a brick wall: layer upon layer of resentment, anger, bitterness, broken-heartedness, even apathy. It would seem fitting that if self will and self justification continued reigning in my heart, I’d have a very stale, linear, cold, static, unfeeling existence. (Aha! Maybe this is why I’ve wanted to ‘move’ out of the neighborhood I live in–typical row upon row of brownstones in Boston)…In fact, a real look at the wall I’ve built up makes the layer of ice covering the Charles River more like a sheer layer of fabric! ☺
What’s helping me break through this wall is to defend that as a child of God, my innate tendency is to love without conditions the true man of God’s creating, including my own good-hearted tendencies. I truly believe each one of us is innately innocent and pure, inspite of the fallible tendencies and emotional misgivings we each may express from time to time.
So working and praying along these lines, when I’ve wondered why a certain loved one treated me horrifically, I’ve tried to forgive that person. When I’ve been pulled to resent another loved one’s criticism of my work, I’ve instead filled my heart with a sense of compassion for inhibitions that result from not understanding differences. When I’ve heard echoes of verbal attacks from loved ones, again I’ve sought to really see those loved ones as God does, in their pure, spiritual selfhood. And in each instance, as I’ve filled up my own thoughts with the unique individuality each one expresses, I’ve been able to see them in their true light and splendor instead of remembering that angry persona they exhibited momentarily. And this has helped me forgive each one, and love them more fully, completely, genuinely.
Believe me, this effort demands constant prayer and a perpetual willingness to pray through the pain even when it feels I can’t see my way.
A favorite author, Mary Baker Eddy, has a helpful promise in her work Science and Health. She states
“Human affection Is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it. The wintry blasts of earth may uproot the flowers of affection, and scatter them to the winds; but this severance of fleshly ties serves to unite thought more closely to God, for Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world and bgins to unfold its wings for heaven.” (p. 57: 22)
See, the nature of God, divine Love, is constantly accessible to each one of us. In truth, we each express this nature 24/7. It’s just the muck of self will and human ego that clouds our view of this tendency in ourselves and in others. So for now, as I pray to be true to my heart, and to see the real nature of my fellow man, my own wall is melting….in spite of my own pleas every now and again to hold it up there. Sure, it may have felt safe to hide behind a thick layer of ice, but it’s never really felt honest or innocent. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing. But if I’m gonna look anything like the Charles, I can expect a lot of shimmering reflected light. ☺
Til the next sifting… feel peace and be well, Tre