flesh and stone

I hate days like this. Days when I wake up with a lump in my throat feeling as though at any given moment I could sink down into a mound on the floor and shed a thousand tears.

Most days are not like this. Most days I am pretty up, pretty positive, pretty peppy. But every once in a while, I have a day when life seems to catch up with me and take its toll.

I have come to realize that this is part of having an open heart. Just yesterday I heard someone talking about a heart of stone being replaced with a heart of flesh.

I love the way that sounds. So beautiful. So alive. I want a heart of flesh. I want to love deeply and fully and freely and generously. I want an open heart.

But there is a cost.

A heart of stone is very difficult to hurt. Stone is heavy and hard and fairly indestructible. And impermeable. Nothing goes in, nothing goes out.

But flesh is another matter entirely.

Flesh is soft and warm and malleable. Flesh is organic and living. It breathes. Flesh takes in and gives out. And flesh is vulnerable.

We have all heard the phrase “love hurts”. I disagree. Giving and receiving love does not hurt. But having a soft and tender heart that loves people and life also must grieve from time to time.

Because this world is not a perfect place. People hurt one another and themselves. And sometimes the awareness of that truth attacks my heart of flesh. And it hurts.

But as I am having one of those days when it all catches up to me, I realize this is the cost of an open heart. It hurts from time to time. And I am tempted to close this heart of flesh and trade it in for a heart of stone.

But no. I won’t. I will keep my open heart, my heart of flesh. Even if it costs me some pain now and then on days like today. Because I would rather be open and give and receive and breathe than be hard and heavy and impermeable.

The cost is entirely worth it to me.