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My Heart is a Door: A Metaphor About Healing, Growth, and Freedom
It has been a while since I've posted a Hub. Although I wrote the following reflection for myself, I thought it might be beneficial to share with others. Writing has become a sort of processing tool for me and I've found that on my own journey of inner-healing, what I write for myself often tends to encourage others, as well. My prayer is that you can relate in some sense and derive hope from these words.
The backdrop for the following metaphor is based on dealing with the pain of past events. These are the things that mark us as young children and can haunt us as we become adults if left ignored. I am speaking of things hidden beneath the surface. I've mentioned in other hubs that I've dealt with an unusual amount of death, loss, and grief in my life--especially in the first twenty-something years. Even though I feel that I've done much to process the losses and have healed tremendously, I occasionally find that there is yet another layer of depth that rises to the surface.
My heart is a door. I try to open it but it is locked. First, I try to convince it with sweet, tender words. It does not respond. I try to persuade it with grand ideas, but to no avail. My patience wanes. I start to place demands on my heart. “You must open that door—right now—or else…” I hear the deadbolt. Now it is doubly concealed. I become angry and I scream at it. I bully it with threats of abandonment. I run and try to knock the door down with all my strength. The door is solid and it will not be moved from its hinges. I find various tools and try to pick the lock, hack the handle, and bust the door down. The door remains solid. It is locked and it is locked.
I am weary of this fight. I sit in the stillness and I wait. I hear silence. My head is downcast . I am surrender. Then I hear it—footsteps faint and timid. The door is unlocked. It is unlocked. A little girl opens the door. She is the me of before. She looks at me with frightened eyes and whispers, “Is it safe to come out now?” I look at her but I dare not move. I nod my head. She stands at the door and pushes it open just a bit more. I long to see what hides behind the door. I want to know the mysteries of this little girl inside my heart. She takes a step towards me—then another. I want to embrace her and tell her all will be okay, but I know she is not yet ready to be embraced. She is exposed and that is enough for now. She remains in the light only briefly before she withdraws again to the inner chambers of safety. I must wait until she invites me to accompany her to that deep and precious place of rest and hiding.
Time goes by and makes me forget that she is there. I am confident and mature—whole and healed. This is what I think until one night she flings the doors open wide and runs out with the scream, “Embrace me!” These are her only words and then she sobs. It is painful to weep from such a deep place and I wonder if there is a dimension that exists in the core of my belly that is unfathomable and without end. This cry pulls me towards a scream. I don’t want to open up all the way—I fear what may come out. All of the neighbors will hear and wonder. And what if my heart can’t handle it? The little girl shows me her different ages and various faces and I realize that she is many. I finally can handle the pain no more and I think “stop” and she stops. In a moment the weeping subsides and I am once again alone. She has returned to her hiding place—so sensitive that little one is.
I sit up and say, “How about some popcorn now? And a movie? I want to have some fun.” My husband politely agrees. Does he understand what just happened? He embraces me and says, “It will be okay.” I smile and say, “Do you love me?” to which he responds, “Yes,” with all his heart. I know he means it but I have one more question. I think it in my head before I say it. “Do you promise?” I think, and then without warning, the floodgates open once more and there is the young one with unabandoned tears. I am exposed. I am vulnerable. This healing embrace makes me yawn. I must sleep.
My dreams are flooded with images of childhood . The setting is places of yesterday but the character is the me of today. I am searching for the lost puzzle pieces at my neighbor’s house. They tell me they are sorry for my loss. I know they understand—they’ve lost too. Which loss are they referring to, anyway? I keep searching. I find a memory of more recent times. He is the most recent loss. He didn’t let me say goodbye. He didn’t let me tell him how angry I was. “You broke your promise!” I shout to him in my dream. He can’t hear me. It is as if I am invisible. These losses so varied: Death stole some before their time and the illusions of life stole others like an invisible crime. Each circumstance linked by a common thread. “You promised—and now you are dead.”
Broken promises like broken glass—the jagged shards surround me. I remember the dream of the broken glass. The car accident that I didn’t see coming. I emerged from the wreckage and looked down at my body, horrified at the sight I beheld. Shards of broken glass stuck in my body—there must be millions. I try to pull them out, one at a time. The process seems endless. Glass by glass they are removed. Then I see a small triangle of glass sticking out from my belly. I start to pull on it but it is like an iceberg. The small tip reveals nothing of its true size. I can see that this shard of glass is enormous and it is interwoven throughout my entire body. All of my vital organs are pierced with this glass. If I pull it out all at once, I will be cut to pieces and destroyed. I go to the hospital and I remain awake for the surgery.
I recognize the surgeon—it is Jesus. He tells me that only He can perform a surgery so complex. He tells me not to worry—I can be at rest. He tells me to be patient—this surgery will take time. He pulls the glass out a little bit, then breaks off the edge. He pulls out a little bit more, and breaks off another edge. He is gentle and precise—He will not allow internal damage. But I don’t like that I’m stuck on this operating table. I don’t like that I am awake. I don’t like that it is painful. I feel the glass moving around. I don’t like that it is taking so long. But I don’t want to live a life in which I cannot move for fear that I will be sliced just for living. I say “yes” and He says, “Everything will be okay.”
“I love you” He says. I think to myself, “Do you promise?” He responds with His thoughts and I can hear them. “I promise,” He says. This time I do not cry. I wait. I am waiting. I know that this surgery is almost complete. The little girl in my heart is ready to open the door, remove the locks, and to grow up in the light. I am on the edge of true existence.