GraceNotes: Holding the Space for … Reflection

#46 — February 1, 2016

When your heart has cracks in it, it lets the light in…

— Ellen DeGeneres

Greetings, Inspired Seekers:

How long has it been since your heart was cracked open? For me, it was just moments ago. I had the pleasure of visiting with a former seminary instructor, seeing him in action and participating in a small way in a service focused on Recovery. Yes, Recovery - with a capital R. It was powerful. So powerful that my heart was cracked open.

Earlier this week, I sat by the bedside of a man who, because of bad genetics and ill-chosen personal choices, was abandoned by those who had known and loved him. He is approaching the final days of his time on this planet. And, in those silent-but-not-so-quiet moments in that hospital room, I could hear my heart cracking open.

February is often thought of as the “month of Valentines” and I, also, have used this Hallmark phrase many times. But there is another side to the heart; one that is not so pretty, although, perhaps, much more real. And that is the experience of the heart cracking open by the simultaneous sensation of profound pain and the emergence of joy through healing.

In moments like this, I begin to understand the Mysticism of deep spirituality that is explored in many faith traditions. I begin to hear, through my heart, the voice of St. Paul, as he calls us to that tilting point of knowing that “I live no longer, not I but Christ lives in me and I in him.” I begin to move into a deeper level of the Buddhist practice taught by Thich Nhat Hahn who teaches that we really are all one and, “…You don’t have to die to enter nirvana or the kingdom of God. You only have to dwell deeply in the present moment, right now.”

Recovery demands living one day at a time. It seems to me to be the ultimate lesson in mindfulness. When we face the end of our days, it also seems to me, those days become more precious and all senses heightened to the changes that appear, at times, only moments apart. The delightful and the difficult.

In order to reach deeper, in order for faith to be present at the cellular level, in order to live in a state of Recovery or find peace before we close our eyes for the last time, our hearts need to be cracked open. For then, instead of chocolate hearts, we could share our real one; instead of sentimental prose, we could offer words of deep compassion and forgiveness.

Fr. Richard Rohr has said that “To understand everything is to forgive everything.” If we cannot forgive ourselves, how will we be able to forgive others? Perhaps instead of being the “Month of Valentines” we could allow it to be the “Month of Hearts Cracking Open.” And that would be cause for joy — and even some chocolate!

Grace-Fully Yours,
Reverend Deborah

Monthly Affirmation: I allow my heart to crack open to the present moment, to see, to rejoice and to forgive.

The Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington is an International Inspirational Speaker who celebrates the unity of all peoples and the common ground that we share. To inquire about speaking engagements: or 215 260 1611.