Sunday, September 20, 2015

An Opening Is A Beginning

Last summer I taught a class at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York called,  "Praying with Sand, Paper, Paint and Pen."

One of my students came in the first day and shared how she was going through a divorce. The second day she provided more detail acknowledging how her husband's infidelity was causing upheaval in their family.

Another student commented, "Why don't you pray for the other woman?"

The woman replied, "That's an interesting thought."

The third day of class we shared our pictures of prayer completed in various colors and designs.

"I decided to pray for the woman who now lives with my ex-husband. I used yellow and green and these shapes," she said showing us her picture.

Noting spaces of white in the middle of the paper and on the sides, I commented, "Even if this is all you do,  there is an opening."

My student smiled.

Opening our heart can be the first step to creating space for God to enter. Opening breaks the tension, tightness and hold that can grip our very core when difficult circumstances come our way.

Thirteen years ago, Sarah gave me a paperweight for Mother's Day. A red heart is in the middle surrounded by clear glass. The hollow center of the heart dips into the base. You can feel the depth of the opening with your finger.

Dipping your finger into the heart and "roaming" through illustrates how much room an open heart offers for God. Rough patches happen in many forms and it's easy to close our hearts when pain overwhelms. We can become hardened with envy, jealousy, anger and frustration.

However, even small openings or spaces, as my student left between shapes, are room enough for God's light to enter and slowly work along the raw and rough insides of our hearts. God's love can be a soothing balm that over time will lessen pain or change to a new form that is manageable and doesn't carry quite the hurt that once was there.

How can you create openings in your heart and space for God to come in and work?

Prayer: God, no one is immune to sorrow or loss for circumstances happen in life that hurt and harden our hearts. We often call to you for understanding and in our cries are the beginning of openings where you can come in and work through the hard tunnels and passages that hardship seems to burrow. Send your light to these places so that peace can come. Amen.

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