A beautiful note from Rody–
The “heart” in the biblical tradition refers to the very core of a person. To grow into our humanity and so our holiness, we need to pay attention to any time our hearts fly open. For it is through these daily “heart opening” moments that we are most alive. By honoring their coming, by cherishing them we can move out of small talk into big talk–find our voices about what really matters.
These moments of the heart are every day moments that are offered to every one of us. The only difference between a large, warm, awakened heart and a cold, small, silent one is attentive hospitality. Here’s a sampler of some of the heart openings that I have known:
Christmas Eve candles begin to mark the dark down the line, one dancing wick to another. Then as every voice finds “Silent Night,” the heart flies open in automatic response to the hidden sacred that has held back the whole year waiting to be carried in on this one song and must, in a moment, wait another year again. The too beautiful, too painful, catches up and overcomes. The night storms rage, a fever spikes then morning comes calm and clear and the heart flies open. Water, in a swirl of color through glass-stained light splashes into a simple pottery bowl. An infant you hardly know but have already begun to love is tipped toward the sacred puddle. A name is asked. Three times a palm full of water is applied. You believe. You don’t believe a thing. Doesn’t matter to the clinching heart trying to sort out, Is this pain or pleasure? as it flies open. We think we have seen it all and nothing ever again can reach through the mundane, the crude and unkind haphazard world and then heaven is lowered down and the heart flies open. Our flag is raised. The anthem begins. The heart flies open. Maybe the same flag is tightly folded and placed in a reluctant lap, and the heart flies open. The towers fall and the heart flies open. Someone mentions Columbine or Sandy Hook and the heart flies open. A lithe and winsome boy who is somehow your son, in trying to protect himself, catches the ball by mistake, winning the game. A daughter takes her first wobbly steps and then, even though every effort has been made to slow time down, pirouettes across a school stage without faltering as the heart flies open.
Each time the drama of this world calls to us, we can welcome it and join the dance or turn away. The welcoming people become more fully alive–they carry within the sacredness of the world, the muck and the mystery. Those that choose to join grow in empathy, compassion, and gratitude. Their capacity for love and joy expands but so also does their experience of sorrow and heart ache. That’s just the deal. Those who turn away, well, they go back to sleep.