A Heart With A Room

They should make hearts without a room for fear, I said to Jade the other day.

I was having One of Those Days — you know the ones — where everything goes wrong, and everyone is mean, and everyone wanted something done yesterday.  The kind of day where the people you’d like to hear from are all radio silent, and the people you’d prefer would go away simply won’t shut up.

Upon later reflection, the idea of a Heart-as-House struck me as sort-of wonderful.

As if a heart was a thing that could be built!

When I was a kid, we visited the Winchester House, in Northern California.  The story goes:  some tragedy of semi-indeterminate origin befell the widow of the fellow who was heir to the Winchester rifle fortune.  Unable to bear her grief otherwise, the widow channeled that energy into building this…house…that lacks all rhyme, reason, plan, or any sort of logical layout.  Staircases lead to walls; pathways, hallways are configured in confounding, maze-like ways.


(Stairway to…nowhere.)

Apparently, much of the design (where things could, indeed, be called such) were aimed at “warding off bad spirits.”

As if warding off the bad ju-ju could be so easy as building around it.

As if.

There are days, lately, where my heart is a room waiting to be filled with furniture, with windows waiting to be dressed.  Salle d’attente — the Waiting Room.

And then there are days where I feel like a house under construction, and I am desperate to build upon the correct foundation; I am anxious to brick up the places where fear can hide.  I want to make sure the windows look out into the pretty courtyards and that the sunlight streams through in the perfect angle so that nothing is ever wrong, and everything is always right.

I don’t know if there is a way to make a heart without a room for fear, though.  I don’t know that we can ever outrun, or outbuild being afraid sometimes.  I think what I have learned is that all we can fill our half-finished selves with people who make us feel whole.

Jade said: Allow yourself some room.  Be nice to my best friend.

It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that I was the one who had locked myself in that tiny, scary room.  While it was easier said than done, I just had to open the door and walk out.

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