I am an Appalachian girl. There are good things about that, but there are downsides, too. We tend to be stoic people, keeping our emotions bottled up until too much moonshine combined with an insult to our kinfolk stirs us to fightin'. But my family is one of the stoic ones, not one of the fighting ones. We don't often show emotion, even to those we love the most. Sometimes we don't even know how to deal with it inside ourselves.
I go through most of my life like this, emotionally reserved, even keel, not expressing or expecting emotional openness. I suppose that is why I am prone to depression and don't find it easy to make deep friendships.
But there are times when even I cannot keep the sadness and the beauty and the joy of life from slipping in and breaking open my heart. It is a slowly widening crack, as my Maker gently and lovingly pries open the shell around my heart. As he helps me to open up, I am learning to invite these emotions into their proper places. Most days they still feel like strangers, but sometimes, like this week, I know that they are finding in my heart a place that could be home.
As I accept the sadness of a missionary hero of mine (and dear family friend) dying of cancer then turn around to watch Linus belly laughing at his daddy and brothers, I wonder if my heart will break from the opening, from the stretching and growing and making room. As I watch Hobbes on a perfect May afternoon, picking strawberries at my in-laws' and eating them straight from the patch (See that lovely photo at the top of my blog?), I wonder if my heart can hold the beauty and heartbreak of it all. I think it is too much.
But I am trying, trying to open my heart and hands to accept life and to live it fully, to allow myself to feel deeply and truly. Maybe just maybe, this heart will hatch one day.