A Spacious and Undefended Heart
A gale is blowing outside my window this evening and it has poured with rain all day. March, it would seem, is roaring in like a lion. The last few weeks of February were unseasonably warm, so the trees have begun to bud. But now we seem to be back in another cold snap. I’m worried about the blossom. It’s always such a beautiful, welcome sight. What if it can’t survive?
Greg Boyle writes, ‘A spacious and undefended heart finds room for everything you are and carves space for everybody else.’ Sometimes it’s hard to let down the defences to your heart. After all, who wants to get hurt? But then, who wants to live in a tiny, cramped place, where the walls close in on you and no light can seep in?
We hold space by being compassionate towards ourselves; for all it means to be us and all the ways we are human. We speak kindly to ourselves: it’s ok, you can make it, you’re not the only one. We have grace for our mistakes. We find ways to remember that we are messy and beautiful and complex and enough. We remember that we are held and loved in all of it.
When we are tender with our own humanity, we find that we can be tender with the humanity of others, too. We let our guard down, catch glimpses of the divine in each other, find grace for the wounds and help each other back to wholeness.
Jesus said, ‘Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.” The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit’ (John 3:7-8). Birth is always accompanied by pain, joy, mess, expansion, and the recognition of a new human life who belongs to the family of all God’s children. You must be born again. And you get to witness the rebirth of your neighbour, too.
I listen to the wind outside my window and wonder if it is the Spirit, stirring up, animating, quickening; dismantling our defences, making space, creating something new out of all our dust and ashes.