Sunday, May 9, 2010

Scars on the heart

I had a painful session with my spiritual director last Wednesday. It's always curious to me how I don't really have anything in mind when I go to see her, no burning desire to share something and then I say something and she says something and we are suddenly into the thick of whatever has been plaguing me all week.

The week before at my poetry class, the instructor asked us to choose someone we deeply loved and write a poem about them. I was struck by the fact that there didn't seem to be many choices at all for me. I love a lot of people but I don't feel like I love them deeply. And I began to wonder if I am incapable of deep love, if I am too wounded, too frightened to do that.

I mentioned to my spiritual director that I felt as if a large part of my heart were encased in scar tissue: tough, unyielding, unmoving. She nodded in her wise way and said that that was probably an apt description given my history and my experiences. And then she talked about how it was possible to break up that scarring and risk again but that it took a lot of concentrated effort to work and work with the scars and that it was most often arduous and painful. Was I willing?

I couldn't immediately say yes. The truth is I don't know if I can.

Today is Mother's Day and I thought about my mother and how conflicted my feelings about her are, still, yet, after so much work and therapy and prayer. How I envy women with good relationships, healthy relationships with their mothers. My mother has been dead for nearly 13 years and yet I struggle to soften my heart. I suspect all this is intimately connected with my relationship with food.

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