Climbing Mount Everest or bungy jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge is likely less fearful to you than opening up the rooms of your heart. Your heart is that beautiful, deep, tender, strong, mysterious place where all of your strengths, peculiarities, passions and longings are kept hidden away. It’s the real “you”. More incredible than traveling to Pluto or investigating the bottom of the deepest ocean is the discovery of this place inside.
This is how I picture the corridor of rooms in my heart – it’s like the castle of a Princess.
It’s always about the heart.
I picture the heart like a place filled with rooms. I can open and close doors as I choose. Some I open up to let a few others into and some are doors where a huge padlock hangs. Some of the rooms I don’t even let myself go into.
- There is a room filled with childhood pictures and memories.
- There is a room filled with what I love to do and am very good at. For you it might be basketball, reading, painting, decorating, creating of some sort – the list is limitless.
- There is a room filled with my dreams. “When I grow up I want to be a …” “The man I love will…” “Someday I am going to be this, do this, have this.”
- There is a room that holds all things precious and difficult about my children.
- There is a room filled with memories and thoughts of each of my romances.
- There is a room full of the results of that commitment I made to a man that lasted for years and years.
- There is also a room of shame. And for many of us, it is hidden away in the back of the hallway, up a long flight of stairs, maybe with a false wall in front of it. Fear of being found out stands like a sentinel outside this door preventing it from ever being opened – even by ourselves.
- Like the air surrounding us always, filtering into each room are feelings. In some rooms there is a window with sunshine pouring through revealing happiness, ecstasy, and warmth. But many are more prone to hold darkness. I had my share of these. The windows were covered by thick velvet red curtains. Shelves lined the walls holding treasure boxes of hurtful words said and picture books of people walking away, laughing at me. Others held knives thrown at me along with rags soaked in attempts to hold wounds together. And there were many, many containers of tears. Most of them were secret tears shed in silence, alone.
Secretly, perhaps subconsciously, I wanted someone to open these doors. So do you.
We all long to have a love so great that it would care enough to come into our hallway of doors and begin to ask what is behind each one. We want ears that truly listen as we explain, as we open one door at a time and show old photos, laugh at memories, tear up over others. To be seen with eyes that look that deeply into us, to have someone silently nod in understanding because they are happy to be learning about who we are, well, that would be a nearly unimaginable gift.
But it’s a gift that everybody wants. Or did at one time. Too many of us have given up the dream of this and have simply thrown away the keys to many of our doors.
When you say things like, “I wish you could just accept me as I am.” or “You don’t get me at all,” or the many variations of these statements, you are really hoping someone will stop and listen. You are asking them in a round about way to walk down this corridor and really see you.
I remember saying this to my ex-husband. “Why can’t you just hear behind my frustrated words and want to know what is really going on in me?” What my heart was saying was, “Why do you insist on staying on the surface of who I am?. It takes perseverance and coaxing to bring me out of hiding. Will you be the one to pursue me?”
When you find a love that is true, you will find this individual who wants to enter all your rooms. And once they enter, they will hold everything you tell them with the gentlest of hands. They will hold you and care about whether there is darkness or light there. This describes exactly the man who is now my husband.
I don’t know what you believe about God, but there is a verse in the Bible that always reminds me of the doors in my heart. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” The idea that the God of the Universe wants me to throw open the doors of my heart to him and really know me is amazing.
Personally, it was the safest thing to do first. If God could come into my room of shame, pull up a chair and say, “I feel comfortable here,” then I could find the courage to let someone else do that, too. And I did.
You will, too. So get ready. Start to consider the rooms in your heart and which ones are locked up tightly. The key to a good relationship will fit into those locks perfectly!
More on this next time. Would love to hear your comments!