This afternoon, I think of the curious phrase in scripture to “open wide [our] hearts” (2 Corinthians 6:12-14). I think, too, of the expression throughout Deuteronomy in particular that we are to love God “with all [our] heart.”
Open wide my heart? All of my heart?
Might I turn from a closed, half-hearted life? Might I go ahead and fling open the shutters?
Today felt like an opening-wide-my-heart kind of day. It’s a day to open my heart to the stories of students–their grieving, their fears, their issues. It’s a day to sit at the table with a cup of tea and wait, with a wide open heart, to sift through the days of my teen daughters. It’s a day to inhabit the new dreams of my husband, a day to carry the burden of a neighbor, and a day to not withhold myself from people.
I withhold myself when I’m tired or stressed out or when my tasks matter more than people. I withhold myself when I don’t perceive benefits to myself in certain interactions. If I’m fearful or suspicious, you get nothing from me. I withhold myself when I’m not honest about what I’m thinking and feeling.
But what about the other me, the one with a wide open heart who so bursts with love that what you offer me back doesn’t matter? This me stays open to insult, ridicule, and misunderstanding. It’s a risky kind of me.
I walk around the neighborhood with a wide open heart. I’ll love the dogs and the cats, the children and the elderly. I’ll love the one who calls on the phone.
I’ll open wide my heart. I’ll live a life generous in love.
And all along, I’m opening wide my heart to God. I’m giving all of me there is to give, in any way I know how.