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6th of May

Closing and Opening

Some openings are sweet.  Like this morning as I rub my eyes and open them slow to a new dawn with sun just about to sprout over that wide expanse of water I can see from my bedroom window.


It’s just before 5 A.M.

I scoot over to that man of mine, the one I opened my heart to 22 years ago.  And he opens that left arm to me, welcoming me into the place where I am wrapped firm and can hear the steady beat of heart.

He opened his to me.

I opened mine to him.


And yet, how quickly hearts can close.

Because opening exposes.

Full opening exposes full being—body, mind, and soul.


And some of the deepest wounds are soul wounds—where psyche scars invisible.  We want to slam that front door of ourselves and deadbolt every opening.  Yes, we want to bolt from opening ever again, at least not like that, so wholly vulnerable.  Trust like that is a leap into unknown, unsure, the possibility of wounding.  And there is that phenomenon of doing to others what has been done to us, like some invisible chain hooked to a ring through our nose, pulling us even against our will to do what scared us and scarred us and made everything within us scream “NO!”, this is not the way it should be!


I was 22 when I wrote what I call a poem—a scribbling of raw words on a page one Sunday at noon—a Sunday I spent alone in a new metropolis, a new bride whose young husband was locked away for what would be the first of many times in a psych ward, panicking, delusional, the very beginning of losing his mind that took us both to Hell for well over a decade until I began to heal and he—well he went home to be with God, in peace, finally, by his own hand, alone in a filthy apartment with no next of kin, no contact information—just a finger-stained slip of paper with my name and number magnetized to the refrigerator door.  And the coroner who called to deliver tragic news thought I was his sister.  I was and will always be, his sister of another sort, no longer his wife.


So how does Humpty Dumpty become whole when she shatters and falls to pieces?  When all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put her back together again?

Slowly, slowly you open, again, what you had slammed shut in pain and fear.  Slowly, slowly you allow the One who can put you together again—you invite Him in, further in.

And He knows how scared you are.

He knows your wounds, especially the invisible heart scars and the mind that runs all the time, fueled by fear.  He knows your ways—how you run yourself ragged trying to be good enough to be loved again, or maybe, to be loved, really loved, for the first time, ever.  But still, you keep running—your hands, your legs, your mind, your heart, your soul—because who can love like that and keep love going?  Who can hold you tight and never leave, even by death?


My husband, my second, is really my first.  He’s sane and stable and loyal and the closest thing to the love of God I’ve found on earth.  And 22 years later, I find myself still here in the crook of his arm, my head hearing steady beat of life, and I’m breathing full-open now, nothing shallow, resting full-content, trusting full-again in life, in love, in God.


We’re at a turning point, this year.

This year, he turns sixty, and I, fifty-five.

I spell the ages.

Because our years have been long and we are worn.

His once thick waves of dark are silvered and thinned.  Furrows deep run vertical between my brows.  Too many frowns of distress, I suppose.  But I’m wearing them to show the world a face still marked with hope.  Because as long as there is a sliver of true love to be found, there will always be hope.  And hearts once slammed and bolted with “Do Not Disturb” signs nailed deep are really, after all, just letters that love can transform into “Welcome!”


So I pull the journal off my shelf this morning—that flowered, corduroy-covered book with blank pages where I scribbled some words long ago.

A curly-headed, twenty-two year old, newlywed went to church, alone, on a Sunday she served the children.  And she came home, alone, praying for a broken soul in a locked wing.  She sat thinking about her life so far, wondering about her future.  And blue ink expressed . . .

In a nursery of toddlers

A bright-faced little girl

Joins her peers

On top of a splintering pine table,

Tap dancing freely

In their untrained style.


Echoes of giggles.

Unrestrained screams.

Childish delight.


“Would you like to fly?”


The question triggers

A train of reactions.

Sparkling eyes widen

With excitement, anticipation.

Tiny arms stretch full-open

Wanting to embrace the world.







I say with arms inviting.


Free-falling in,

Eyes closed,


I catch joy

And she lands



There was no analysis

Of the possible consequence

Of her jump.

She trusted arms would

Catch and protect.

Yet, it was still

A leap into invisible, unknown

Made easier by childish naiveté.


But I am older.


I know the pain of trusting,

The crashing down,

The crushing.


I trusted

And was left bleeding

On the inside . . .

Torn apart, abandoned,

Trying to pick up

My own pieces,

Beginning reconstruction—




Even so, I want

Once again

To trust like that child—

To relish life’s pleasures

And learn from life’s pains.


For I have seen


By shunning,

Then facing

My fears,


That to live

Is to risk.

All else is a lonely,

Mundane existence.


April 4, 1982

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