Tag Archives: heart

Lent 25

heart kdw watercolour

The chambers of the heart pump and breathe their flow, in and out Life courses through, and like us they do not see the results, that they send word to every part of the body, and it hears the booming voice of love. They must simply trust that doing their work, monotonous as it is, makes some kind of difference. At the end of things they will be astonished to find they were the engine at the very centre, holding the truth and owning faith.

Art and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2018

Lent 3

House Finch from James Scott Smith 2 small

The chambers of my heart are open for God to fly in. For there is an altar here to his name, and like the sparrow in the psalm he comes to make his nest before it. In love, I do the same thing in his heart. I in you and you in me.

See Psalm 83:4, John 17:21

Art and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2018 (inspired by a reference photo by James Scott Smith with kind permission)

29: Cracked

cracked egg Earl53 MF

And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.” Joshua 9:13 NIV

I don’t know the circumstances of your life, dear reader, but I’m sure that at some point you have known something of the way I feel today, cracked and dried up and worn out. I am struggling even to write this piece, my energy is so low. And yet the Lord is quick to bless me with the understanding that being cracked is often the first step towards the release of precious things. I am probably cracked to let my soul sing out his praises today when all the circumstances of life are hard. I am probably half-baked, delirious, seeing much desired mirages, trudging along in the dry places and desperate to find an oasis. How often do we come to such dryness in life and fall on our knees in thankfulness to drink from the running streams that God can bring forth even from the cracking of a rock?

Eggs are cracked to release yolk and white, or the life of a young bird. Earth is cracked to release green shoots, and the seed cases and nuts and beans themselves must also be cracked by life to germinate and travel onwards. Cracks in the ground pour forth spring water, tiny cracks in our skin allow it to breathe. Mountains crack over millennia to let rivers form. There are few shells and containers and hearts in life that are immune to cracking, and it is only lifeless eggs that never crack, and hard hearts that never leak compassion. Light, life, love and imagination must break out and burst forth.

There is nothing to be despised in the old and weary and weathered. We are cracked souls where the light gets in to the world, and the Lord does not despise a contrite heart.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NIV

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Morguefile.com

26: Seeing the Heart

26 heart-leaf-rain mf pippalou

Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy. Then the man of God started weeping.” 2 Kings 8:11 NLT

What must it feel like to be stared at by a powerful prophet of God? I should think Hazael must have been squirming inside. And yet Elisha was far more ill at ease. He wept because he knew what Hazael was to become, and that he was to do terrible things. It is a scene that was surely part of the inspiration for Macbeth, since Elisha predicts Hazael will become King, and Hazael takes this prophecy into his own hands and kills the current king, his master, the following day.

The things in the future that Elisha saw Hazael would be responsible for, which he called terrible and Hazael hears and calls “great”, are truly awful, murderous acts. It must have been beyond distressing for Elisha, and yet as a prophet he clearly felt impelled to tell the upstart his future, though we might wonder why. Some of us might say, well, if Elisha knew that Hazael would do all these terrible things, and kill the king, he should have stopped him, maybe even killed him. But to me, Elisha’s acts of staring and weeping are commensurate with his role. He stared because he saw and the seeing made him weep. But I am sure that as well as the future mapped out, he could see the heart of this man full of darkness before him. In fact, I think for a prophet the seeing and the reaction to it always go together. If we can see someone’s heart, we also see what they are capable of. This should make us uncomfortable too, for the Lord looks first and foremost at our hearts: “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 partial NIV

If your inner motives and greatest desires were being examined by a seer right now, would you be uncomfortable? I guess we all would up to a point. But knowing the heart is the seed bed for all sin and all belief, perhaps doing a little inner seeing might do us all good. When we bare our souls and consciences before the Lord in the prayer of examen, or we do soul or shadow work in prayer or with trustworthy mentors, this is a good thing. To know ourselves well means we can be on the alert for the things that would prompt our wicked desires into wicked actions, and we can ask the Lord to guard us and help us weed out those seeds. It is good to cultivate healthy heart desires, to pray for the Lord’s promptings to be the things that motivate us. I fear that men and women of God might weep to read the leanings of some of our hearts today. Lord have mercy.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Morguefile.com

139: Cavern

139 cavern

This then is the perfect penetration we are all searching for, the arrow in the eye of the beholder, the way of doubting Thomas’ digit, the plunging into entombed darkness knowing we shall rise again. This enclosed, cloistered warmth, the smooth-walled womb-heart of God, the belly of the whale and the mouth that is on fire for truth. A homing instinct that makes us snuggle into duvets, curl wet sand around our feet, fold our palm over a pebble, run our tongue around our teeth. Here we are wrapped and swaddled, safe and held, in the bosom of our maker, in the silent cell.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015

 

Day 70: The Thicket and the Wren (Day 800 of daily blogging)

70 Carolina Wren

The 111 short stories God inspired me to write during 2015 are now being made into a book, currently entitled “Telling Tales.”  Some of them were shared here, but I have taken them all down except this one, as this piece was shared to celebrate 800 days straight of prayerful blogging. How faithful the Lord is! I LOVE THIS PIECE AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMPANY ON THE JOURNEY, DEAR FRIENDS.

 

The world is become a round thorny thicket of a sphere, and it is hard to know how to change or soften it. One morning the Lord of the Birds sent a yellowhammer to the world to sing and call early in the morning. The slender bird perched carefully on a branch and made a joyful racket to wake the soundest sleeper, but to no avail. The next day she collected some friends so that the dawn chorus was loud and rousing. But there was no sign from inside the world that it had woken.

Next the Lord sent a woodpecker. It knocked and knocked at the stems of the thorny thicket, as loud as it could, and all that happened was he got a headache from the solidness of the wood, which had become like stone. It could not hear or had forgotten how to feel vibrations.

Then songbirds came calling, a thrush with a spotted breast and a robin singing its heart on its sleeve. The most beautiful songs were sung, ones that grace the very courts of heaven, but not a glimmer of a reaction came from the entangled thicket, and the birds were sad. The world no longer had ears to hear, nor did it recognise or welcome beauty.

Next a stork was sent to the world. “I am the bringer of new life!” he announced to no-one. But there was no entrance way small enough for him to get his gift through the dense, dark branches covered in thorns and he had to take his present away. The world would not receive a new birth. It had closed itself up to new starts and hopes.

Now a blackbird came. He carried with him the sunshine of joy, which was the same colour as his golden beak. He released his gift to the world, but it only returned to him, for the thicket was now so dark and dense there was nowhere for the rays of light to enter and no way for it to penetrate the blackness below.

So the Lord of the Birds wept for the world that had become so hard, so dense, so deaf and so dark and so stubborn that it would not receive his gifts or his messengers.

“Whom now shall I send?” he asked his court. And all the birds and the angels wept with him and said nothing. But the tiniest wren tilted her head to one side in thought, and the Lord saw. “Will you go?” he asked the little bird.

The wren was surprised. “I will, my Lord, though I am tiny and plain. I have no strength, no gifts to bring, nor is my song lovely. What use shall I be?”

“Like me, you have not lost all hope,” said the Lord. “Go, and take your hope with you.”

So the tiny wren bowed low and then flew with all her strength to the world. Because she was so small and persistent she was able to squeeze through the top layer of the thicket. The world paid her no attention nor tried to stop her, what harm could such a little thing do after all?

She struggled and wriggled and did not give up, though there were thorns and darkness and she was alone. But eventually the wren came out into the centre of the dark, protective thicket that no light had broken through for an age.

In the very centre, just visible despite the darkness, she could see the heart of the world. It had become so weak and small that it was now just a drop of blood hanging from a branch, like a red winter berry. It pumped very gently every second, and even this small movement made the wren afraid that it might fall and then it and the world would be no more. Carefully she crept up to it and did the only thing she could think to do. She swallowed it.

The world’s dark protection shrunk back a little in surprise, wondering what just happened to the centre that it had caged in so well that it had become stifled and tiny enough to be swallowed by a wren. The branches softened just a very little.

It was impossible to know what to do next, so the small bird simply sat and made herself as comfortable as possible, as though she were nesting. It was her job now to protect the world’s heart and she could feel its faint beat deep inside her feathered chest alongside her own. She was very tired from her journey and slept well.

In the morning, she was awakened by the dawn chorus. Far far above her head she could just hear the sound of the yellowhammer and her friends, yammering and chirping. The sound of it gladdened her weary heart and at the same time the world’s heart swelled too. Her listening had awoken its senses and her waking had brought it some life.

Later on, the whole world echoed with the sound of the woodpecker’s knocking. Because the wren could feel it, the world felt it too. The wood became softer and the woodpecker chiselled himself a home.

The following day the dawn chorus came again and was a welcome sound. The woodpecker bustled at the finishing touches for his new home, and then the robin and the thrush came calling, sitting on the now flexible branches and singing for joy as each thorn fell away. Their song, unheard for so long, melted the heart of the world and it seemed to fill with delightful sound, swelling along with the robin’s breast as he sang thanks and praise.

And then the stork came, bringing new life. The wren called out to him in welcome from within. No longer spurned, he found he could land on smooth, firm branches and leave his gift. In response the world’s heart called out to the sap in the thicket and life began to flow again. It wasn’t long before there were new green leaves beginning to unfurl all over the place. The wren was glad to see the changes and feel the world’s heart coming to life again, but she wasn’t sure what to do except to sit still and let it recover.

A new guest the next day brought joy to the world, the blackbird gleefully dropping rays of sunshine that could now rush dancing in between the leafy branches. The light streamed through the growth like water finding channels to flow in. It was quite sensational to watch and the wren with her two hearts, found them pounding in excitement. She longed to fly up to the surface and see her friend the blackbird, and thank him for such wonders, but the world’s heart must stay at its centre, and that meant sitting still.

Now the world was blossoming once more, after such a long time unlived, and the buds opened out into pink delicate flowers, their perfume drifting up into the air and filling the world with the loveliest fragrance. The wren took it in and was thankful, and the heart of the world followed suit.

And now there was enough room for the Lord of the Birds to come down joyfully and see the changes for himself. He knew that the wren had shown the heart of the world how to listen again, how to receive again, how to live again, how to know him again and that every time her heart had lifted, the thicket had lost its power.

“Thank you,” was all he said to his little helper as he held out his palm. And she joyfully hopped onto it, so glad to finally stretch her wings. She had given up her freedom and guarded the heart with her listening and her singing and her stillness. As she moved onto the offered palm her body faded and she was given a new silver outline. The world’s heart stayed behind her as she moved onto the hand of her maker. The wren knew now she could flit and fly in the branches of his arms and shoulders and that she was finally free.

Behind her the heart of the world now hung from the blossomed branches, a large healthy red apple, surrounded by life and love.

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015