Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Open Heart

This summer my husband would have reached his 55th year.  Celebrating a lucky double nickle birthday was not in his life plan.   We were together for ten years, sharing seven of them as husband and wife.  I like to think of that period as my Golden Decade; some of the finest years of my life.  Maybe there is some validity to the energy of Love being magnetic and attracting more goodness and abundance into our lives.  The deeper I seemed to grow in my love, respect, and gratitude for him and our time together, my exterior world of job and material possessions multiplied too.  Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I was swept away into this magical land of beauty and blessings... and disbelief.  On some level I didn’t think I was worthy. What did I ever do to warrant all of this and such a man?   For the first time in my life, struggle ceased and I had ... plenty.  There was plenty of money, plenty of friendships, plenty of good health, plenty of material possessions, plenty of love.   Most of all, there was a peace and the kind of encompassing gratitude that lingers like very expensive perfume.  I thanked my God, my deceased mother, and anyone else I thought might have been responsible for the end to years of struggle.  Eight years into our cocoon of comfort, dark clouds crept in, chilled the air and blocked the sunlight.  As he struggled to save his life from the cancer cells that invaded every organ in his body, cynicism and grief threatened to take my soul. I simply could not believe this could happen to such a good man and it shook the foundation of my belief in a loving God.  I prayed for his life, offering up mine as a trade off, but there was no bargaining.  I thought God had not only closed the door on me, maybe some archangel told Him of some long ago misdeeds and I was blacklisted from His Mercy and Grace.  I never lost my faith that there was a God.  He just appeared to have too much faith in me that I could handle anything tossed my way and He clearly wasn’t into negotiation.   My prayers and pleading fell on deaf ears.  God went silent. My heart did too. 

Years of confusion and grief followed his death, and I couldn’t make sense of anything.  I had this belief that goodness and abundance was based on behavior.  No matter how hard I tried, that philosophy wasn’t working for me.  I was a good person, giving and compassionate.  I worked hard, took care of myself and continued to expand my knowledge and ability to carry my own weight on the planet.  I thought I put into the world what I wanted to see reflected in my own life. However, a nagging discontent with life and struggle continued to invade my days; not enough - job satisfaction, money, contentment in relationships or, most of all, self-esteem. 

Sometimes there is a Holy purpose for our world to come crashing down in a heap at our feet.  Mine did. I was forced to simply stop and all outer worldly distractions went away.  Gone were the jobs, the relationships, and the money. Time to be still and just feel all the hurt and grief, lying in wait to be acknowledged.   It got quiet enough to hear my own voice inside my heart begging to be let out, if only for a time; just to feel the sunshine and witness the majesty of a starry sky. You can’t hold on to the past inside a heart padlocked for safe keeping and expect to dance in the adventure of life at the same time.  If even God isn’t permitted entry, how are new gifts to arrive? 

Trying to recapture the past and the abundance of back then, is like trying to harness the energy of the tides. Memories are fond rainy day diversions, not a way of life.  Meaning lives in the moment and flows from an open heart ready to receive what each minute has to offer, whether it be sorrow or joy.  Abundance shows up not because someone else loved us, or we loved our jobs, or we have financial security.  It arrives because we are savoring every day just as it is, with a heart wide open, seeing it all through the eyes of Love.   All the gifts of the spirit reside there.  They flow outward in a Love that spills over into every aspect of our lives.  I cannot earn my way into this kind of abundance through responsibility, education, and good behavior.  An open heart, filled with love; offering love and accepting love back, held the keys to my Golden Decade. I’ve found the keys and unlocked my heart.  I plan to keep it open, no matter what.  

This summer, after many years of being tucked away for safe-keeping, just like my heart, I discovered our wedding rings,  I took them to a jeweler.  I wanted them both made into a single ring; a remembrance.  His band, was to encircle my finger as a whispered reminder that love always holds me close; both he and God.   My band, was to be molded into the shape of a free-style heart, scattered with the diamonds.   Each one symbolizes the extraordinary love already existing in my life.  Our rings and my heart are no longer padlocked away for old memories sake.  

I prefer living with this open heart, letting life feed it with whatever comes my way- joy, sorrow, prosperity or poverty.    I know what I had before, and all the important things in my life, grew because of that energy of Love and Love can only  flow into and from a heart wide open.  I am learning to savor the sensations of this vulnerable, open-hearted living and experiencing a new kind of abundance.  My prosperity is not limited to a single Golden Decade.  As long as I keep my heart open, every moment of my life is spun into gold, scattered with diamonds.