I'm sitting alone on the shore. I'm holding my heart in my hand and no-one notices. Or worse: they do, they just don't care. A family member walks by and accidentally stomps on my raw and vulnerable emotions. I look around to find some way of numbing, but can't find it. I'm bleeding inside out. Someone I look up to, passes by. I hang my heart on a clothes line – stark and obvious. Who wants to force people into acknowledging your heart? Who wants to demand that your needs must be met? They don't even notice. I used to starve for someone to understand. I yearned to be wanted outside of my capabilities. But even that has become stale. I get up and walk away from the shoreline towards the rocks. I want to be left alone. I want people to stop hurting me. I want to cover up those exposed nerve endings. I want to stop caring and feeling. Someone close to me, walks by. I don't even stop. To be ignored with your heart in your hand is insulting. I cry aloud and no one cares. But at least there's dignity in silence.
A friend runs up to me and extends their hand. How unexpected! I suddenly feel self conscious – they want me to hand over my heart so they can peek into that deeper private place. Isn't this what I've been waiting for? Why do I want to hide? Here's my chance! I timidly open the door to my heart to let them in. Do they expect a cheerful welcome after such long abandonment? They don't even look inside. They reach in and pull with one intrusive yank. “Look friend, see my heart? Listen to my hurts!”
I stare back. I used to sit, like a puppy on the other side of the glass door, expectantly watching; wagging my tail every time someone seemed to be approaching. It almost makes me angry that I was so foolish. With my back to the glass, somehow I will find healing.
I sit on the shore. Jesus walks by. He calls and I pat the sand next to me. Jesus sits down and I hand Him my heart. Gently He holds it. I open the door to it and He smiles. We talk a long time. I tell Him how hurt I am and He nods and understands.
“Why are you so hurt?” He finally asks.
Isn't it obvious? I expect to be treated at least like a human being. And instead they treat me like dirt. “How do you plan on healing?”
I shrug. I guess I will just expect their unjust treatment.
“What if you chose not to expect anything?”
I look up into His kind but mysterious face. “You mean, not to expect them to treat me kindly?”
“And not to expect them to treat me painfully?”
He nods again. “You're expectations are molds you've made to cast people in...maybe try expecting nothing.”
I walk to the beach. I am quiet but not in despair. I cannot recast others. I have decided to hold no expectations of them. Not to expect them to reach out , and not to expect them to trompel me. I will not depend on others, but neither will I throw them away to embrace independence.
A friend waves to me from a distant path. My thoughts don't travel down to what “should be”. I still face fear, but with no resentment. They quickly pass me by, without so much as a casual glance at my bleeding heart. I am effected but not undone. I have not given up on anyone.
Someone dear comes to me with extended arms. At first I wince...and then I remember – no expectations. She is smiling. I want to turn away -- she doesn't care about the bloody heart I hold. But that's when I notice. In her hand she holds a bleeding heart. I ache for her. I ask. She sits down and I sit next to her and we cry over her bleeding heart. Somehow it washes a little of her blood away and we talk way into the night.
I finally get up to leave. I look around for my heart. Smiling, my friend hands it to me. I hadn't even noticed that she had taken it. I hug her and start down the path for home. And there in the moonlight I suddenly realize my heart isn't bleeding. I turn it over to make sure it's mine. Yes, there are the old scars. But somehow, while I was caring about my friends heart, my own had stopped bleeding.