The Shape of a Heart, Episode 162

We all carry wounds and hurts with us into our lives, and we present them to the world in our longing to be seen and to be healed. Perhaps when our hurts are so easily ‘out front’ we shouldn’t be surprised at how often we each get triggered into self-protective and defensive patterns which are at odds with our deeper intentions and longings. But if we could find a way to support one another in hearing not just the wounds but the steady pulse of life that flows beneath all our hurts? This episode of Turning Towards Life is a conversation about being with one another in a way that welcomes all of us home, hosted as always by Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify. You can find videos of every episode, and more about the project on the Turning Towards Life website.

Our source this week is brought to us by Lizzie, and is written by Carrie Newcomer:

The Shape of a Heart

There are stands of beech trees
Covering the hills around my home.
They are old companions
With bodies like sturdy elephant legs,
Smooth and grey
With so many wrinkled eyes.
Willowy when young,
Straight and stately as they age.

I laid my hands on one these trees last evening.
Flat palmed like a Baptist blessing
Putting my ear to the bark
Listening for that steady pulse.

There is a charred hole about thirty feet up,
The evidence of something long-ago
A crash of thunder
A lightning strike
A natural event
A blameless bit of bad luck
That over time has mostly grown over,
Transforming an open wound
Into an open space,
Shaped exactly like a heart.
It is a miracle she survived,
Living with and then living into
Her most devastating wound,
Which the slow process of healing,
Created something singular
Utterly striking
Head scratching wondrous
Even beautiful.

We stood there together
In a quiet kind of kinship,
Unconcerned about the ash,
Giving off the faint smell of ozone,
Listening to the rustle of leaves
Nodding as the golden light
Slipped over the ridge.

by Carrie Newcomer

Photo by Anastasia Vityukova on Unsplash