Words From My Silly Putty Heart

Drawing For AnnaThere is a pastel drawing on the wall in my Dad’s room at the seniors’ home. Three tall yellow roses standing amid coloured stones, and a backdrop of words repeated over and over. A mantra. ‘I need a shatterproof heart.’

The yellow roses are my Nana, my Mom, and me. The title is ‘Drawing For Anna’. The drawing is fifteen years old.

I wake this morning, thinking exactly that mantra.

I convince myself to write morning pages. What comes in my pages—I need a heart made of silly putty. Bendable, squishable, stretchable. Break silly putty apart and it always smooshes back together again.

Yes, I say in my pages. I need a silly putty heart.

It is late afternoon now, as I write this blog post, and I decide I already have a silly putty heart. All this summer, my heart has been squashed and broken into every shape of every emotion between joy and grief. And every time, somehow, my heart moves back into the shape of love.

A silly putty heart in love shape, I decide, is two hands cupped together, large enough to hold with care all that shows up.

Right now my silly putty cupped heart is holding a lot.

There are today’s naked feelings around my parents’ aging and illness. There is the wanting of a good life and graceful leaving for them, and the feeling this is not terribly possible despite the best we do.

There is the knowledge of being parent to my parents, making difficult decisions, not something I expected.

There is the desperate need of doing something, anything, creative. My heart knows drawing and writing hold me together.

And in this moment, in my silly putty heart, here is the mid-September sun warm on my bare feet, the breeze that smells of the ocean, the rocking of the porch swing as I sit and move my pen across the papers in my lap.

My heart offers me words that soothe and settle the naked, painful feelings. Offers me this moment of beauty. Sun and breeze and the porch swing.  The loud cricket choir that begins singing in just this moment.

I wonder, in my morning pages, what to call this mess of feelings that touch all places between joy and grief.

I have my answer.

It’s called life.

Given grace

Crowgirl Words
Crowgirl Words

I have a new word in my heart’s vocabulary.  Grace.

New to me, yet this is an old word.  I’ve heard people talk about the ‘grace of God’.  There, but for the grace of God, go I.  The song Amazing Grace tells of being taught by grace, and saved by grace.

In this world, I see grace being beauty, being tenderness and mercy, being forgiveness and reprieve and absolution.  Grace as a gift, given unexpectedly and lovingly, that relieves, rescues, saves.

I think grace is connection, a gift in the same way love is a gift.  Always here with me.  Always available and speaking to me.  Always holding me in its embrace.  I need only open my heart, and become grounded and present.

Grace is another word for love, another word for Source, for God.

I see the grace given in my life.  Love.  Connection.  Forgiveness.  Beauty.  Gratitude.

Grace is what writes with me, these words on this page.  Whispers in my ear, write this, then this, and this.  Grace opens my heart to my life, all of it.  Opens my senses to what is around me in this moment.  Says to me, use everything.  All is inspiration, when I am open to grace and vulnerable to life.

Open.

Letting myself become vulnerable.

The dictionary defines vulnerable as being available to injury.  In other words, I am being advised to stay closed off.  Closed is safe.  Vulnerable is being in danger.

Surely vulnerable can simply mean open.

When I am vulnerable to all in my life, I learn and understand.  I feel and do what could be difficult and painful, but I hold it and myself in love.  And then grace holds me, and I find my way through.  Nothing to force or fight, nothing to push against in anger or fear, nothing to close away from.

I think the dictionary writers got it wrong.  Vulnerable is not being available to injury.  Vulnerable is being available to grace and love. It is standing deep in my life, open-hearted and accepting all I experience.

Available to my life.  Using everything.  An open heart.  This is grace.  Given, and accepted.

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Mentioned in this post:

Amazing Grace, song by John Newton (1725 – 1807)