Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
Your lives are busy, useful, honest; but your faces are anxious and you are not all that you want to be. There is within you another life, a buried life, which does not go free. –Canon Barnett
How is your heart? Or better yet, when was the last time you really asked yourself that question?
I am spending this week resting, playing, and eating with twenty-three of my kind. Or better clarified: a family reunion. As we’ve fly-fished, hiked, and eaten lasagna, tacos, and ice cream, I’ve recognized what busy tendencies we share even on vacation. There is always something grand to do: mountains to hike, trout to catch, trails to ride, shops to shop, and coffee to drink. And we’re on vacation. Don’t get me wrong; all of these things are great for vacation. But a couple days into the week I recognized my own heart’s lonely cry to be cared for. And then it occurred to me even more that each of the other twenty-two persons I’m with possess the same heart-cry, whether they hear it or not.
And so do you. Before exiting out of this blog and going on with your Internet surfing, stop and ask. Be quiet. Listen. Get a journal and write. Honor your heart’s need for silence and reflection. Perhaps our buried heart does not go free because we pay so little attention to it. Maybe it’s because there are so many things to do. Better yet, I have another theory. We fear what might surface if we gave our heart enough time to really breathe. But the greater danger lies in doing just that. We must remember the wisdom in Psalm 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Fight for your heart today. Make time for it to breathe. What are you feeling? Hurt? Anger? Sadness? Fear? Loneliness? Shame? Guilt? Gladness? Talk to God about it. What you are feeling is apart of something bigger. It’s about your own story, yes. But bigger than that. Your story interweaves into a larger one; one that glorifies God in a redeeming way, though I don’t understand it all. So you matter. Your heart matters. Listen to it. I will try to do the same this morning.
(I am indebted to Jan Meyer’s Listening to Love for the quote from Canon Barnett, which was posted on billboards in East London in the late 1800’s. What a delight it would be for someone to post that message on billboards across the country today.)