Heart of Stone (s)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
I do believe that friendships between men and women are very important. In my own life, women who have become friends with me, have always been a help in my own ongoing conversion. For the most part they can see into me, some of my inner workings that men will often miss. Yes, women can become a goad (in the best sense of the term) for me. I also believe that women will more often than not help men in an unconscious manner. By that, they do not try to control. Men most likely play that role for women as well, and yes, on a level that is not based on control. Carl Jung talked about how women show men their souls, I guess it goes the other way as well. Men revealed to women their souls.
Many married couples become the best of friends. It takes commitment, talking, and perhaps harder still, listening. I believe that the sufferings that come from all deep relationships, are what breaks open the heart. If there are perseverance and humility on both sides and leads to deep healing. The healing comes from being seen, loved, and accepted…..yes and the working through often painful difficulties.
Gail, a good friend of mine helps me more than she knows. She is a good combination of being serious, as well as childlike. Being unaware of that makes it even more powerful. I experience this in many people, who help and touch others unbeknown to themselves.
About a year ago, more or less. Gail gave me a stone that was made into a red heart. It was beautiful and I put it on my shelf. About four years ago she gave me another stone, I think it was a ‘pink heart’. I also put it away and forgot it. The red heart, however, kept calling for my attention, so I put it on my prayer altar. Being Catholic, it reminded me of the “Sacred Heart’ of Jesus. The perfect, loving, unafraid, human heart.
Then Fr. James died, and a priest from Ireland sent me a letter thanking me for my write- up about his passing. He sent me some sea-shells and some small stones that he picked up on the beach there. One of the stones was in the shape of a ‘white heart’. He wanted me to put them in our retreat house garden in honor of Fr. James. I did, but kept the white heart, and placed it on my prayer altar, next to the red heart. I would often stop and stare at them, taken by their beauty, and how they seemed to fit together. So over time, they reminded me of the deep humanity of Jesus, and when I read the Gospels for my Lectio, and I see on how loving he was to others, the red heart would come to mind.
The white-heart reminded me of the Blessed Mother. A heart that is pure because it loved God with singular intent, and humility. I would often think that my heart is nothing like theirs and this would pain me, because all my life I have struggled to be loving, and have yet to achieve it on a very deep level. Yet, I also know, that this is my journey, perhaps everyone’s, to find the one thing necessary, and I believe that is to love freely, without fear. As well as to forgive, not hold resentments, and to let the power that I give to others over me, go. This sounds simple, but for me, it is not about being sentimental at all, but about rock-bottom reality.
Early this week, Gail cam by for a visit, and we spent a good hour together talking. Afterward, she went for a walk. That evening, I found another ‘heart’ at my door. This was a much bigger stone heart, and I liked it very much since it seemed to show me what the Lord has to work with.
A large, hard, cold, stone heart. I do know that within this stone heart, the other two hearts are working in secret to bring the work of the Holy Spirit to light. So I live in hope that one day I will experience this ability to love without fear, and to be free of resentments that have deep roots.
I live in hope and trust in the work of God’s grace. His grace flows into all lives I believe through the people that we know, and in the events, we are called to deal with. It seems that it is only in hardships that we can grow in true love.
A heart of stone
How heavy is my heart, Lord,
it is like a stone-cold, dead,
encased by the barbed-wire of fear,
yes Lord a prison, free me from it,
and to embrace if need be the suffering
that is the chisel that forms a truly human heart.—Br.MD