Monday, October 14, 2013

An Affair of the Heart

It's amazing what can happen in 3 months when you stop blogging. Or three days, or three minutes for that matter. Your whole life can change in one quick conversation.

Last week, mine did. I did something that I'd wept about doing because it was a great fear of mine- exposing one's heart to another's. But something beautiful and amazing came out of it despite that there's been no resolution. My heart was simply freed. It no longer had any regrets. What a blessed and unusual circumstance to find oneself in for how often do we take, not have, but take the opportunity to say what would otherwise leave us with great remorse in the future. I could see that happening and knew I couldn't stand it and would always be sorry- irregardless of the outcome of the conversation I dreaded and feared. My mother helped. She explained, "You need to say something. Use those balls of steel I gave you and say it."

And simply, I did. And surprisingly, lived to tell the tale. 

You see, we all get one story. One chance to write our own unique story that can be as wild or tame as we decide. The wilder it is, the less certain it will be. The more you have invested in something, the more risk you take at losing. There are many, or really if we're being honest, most who choose the easy path. The less risky one. 

I'm not about that. It's miserable choosing the lesser road when you know the other beckons your heart to be wild and most true to itself. And we all have our own stories- some people's might be having a family and kids, others it could be sailing around the world or becoming a Green Beret. We all have our dreams and fantasies that we keep hidden deep within our souls that we rarely share perhaps because to speak them might cause them to vanish. It would require something great of us. Or, I think maybe, we are afraid to hope for more and for our dreams to come true because if we dare to hope and invest so much hope in it only to have it fail, then the failure is far more agonizing than simply not trying to make it come true at all. That is settling and it is killing. It kills the soul a little. 

Being true to one's heart and honest with oneself may be one of the most difficult choices we face with ourselves. It requires much of us. Most of us. Daring for greatness usually does and rarely do we see the forest for the trees. But it's the journey that's the best part. We might not see the forest til we reach the mountaintop but who doesn't love a good trail on the way to the top? It's in the trenches relationships are built and the little things stand out to us- the detailed moments in life that seem ordinary to consider and explain to another but are the most memorable. Like telling a joke and it falls flat and you have to honestly realise, "Ugh, you had to be there." The view at the end is beautiful but it's the journey to it that makes the view so worth while. Often times I've looked back down over the view and relished returning to the trees. 

So here it is and here I am. More decisions to make. After a year and a half of not even leaving the country let alone the continent, I'm faced with the decision to apply to a job in Africa, stay at my current jobs, and to wait out an answer to what my heart confessed a couple of weeks ago. 

It's all very important- and it isn't. Life goes on whatever happens. I've had a good life up until now, enjoy my two minimum wage jobs a great deal, and intend to continue living a good life as long as God sees me through. 

There was a time when I packed everything Africa into a couple of boxes that had a verse taped on it reading, "Lord, here's my heart". Then came the time when I brought it back down from the attic and my heart was in a very different place. Now, I'm happy here or there. Sure I love a good plane ride but the relationships I've developed here have become immensely more important than I ever suspected they would. People have crept into my heart without me realizing and leaving them would be difficult. But a part of my heart will always belong to Africa. 

I used to think the heart was only so big so I had to be cautious who I gave parts to. Because of it's size and value, I had to be careful because I would never get those pieces back and if I did it would be because they were shattered and hurting and they would not be good for giving out again for a long time. Now, I think the heart is more like the universe, to sound like a psychic, in that it's ever-expanding and I cannot find the limits of it. The more I give of my heart the more I receive back. Sometimes it gets hurt but that would happen if it were a heart limited in size or a heart limitless in size. It's much better to see the heart as limitless in it's affections and capacities. 

It's up to each of us to decide what our story is going to say. If it's one others would like to retell and use as examples of courage or of waste. Both stories are told, and we have the option in small decisions and large decisions to determine what others will say of us. But at the end of the day, it is ourselves who we must face. God's will will be done regardless of us. We have the chance to choose to be a part of it and what kind of story our lives shall tell.

There's a story by Isak Dinesen entitled, "A Deluge at Norderney". Several people are facing death. Two are a man and a woman and another is a cardinal (the details might not be totally right...) but the point is the couple decide shortly before they all die to marry one another despite the impending certainty of death. I love when the Cardinal says this:

"Be not afraid of absurdity; do not shrink from the fantastic. Within a dilemma, choose the most unheard of, the most dangerous solution. Be brave, be brave!"

That is the sort of life I seek to live. 

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