Monday, September 15, 2014

A Supple Heart


The Mystery within
I heard a supple heart in a quiet, calm, most soothing voice, of a man I didn’t know while I sat in my ophthalmologist’s waiting room.  At first I thought he was speaking to his wife sitting next to him but later realized he was on his phone talking to a service provider who makes corrective shoes.  I never want to forget the softness in his patient voice when it became apparent the person on the other end of the line was not being helpful.  I sensed within him a very healthy ego, one that didn’t need to get upset with the incompetence of another because he was not getting the service he respectfully requested.  His was not a milk toast response, but one of enviable acceptance and control worthy of emulation.

Parker Palmer’s On-being reflection, “An Invitation to Heartbreak and the Call of the Loon,” states “the heart can break open into new life or break apart into shards of sharper and more widespread pain.”  Clearly my waiting room teacher demonstrated a heart broken open--one that did not need to retaliate and cause more pain.

I am also remembering now the kindness I heard in the voices of others that encouraged my heart to refuse the victim role when I struggled with abuse and my aging parent’s care needs—a hospital volunteer, social workers, a nurses aid, friends, and sometimes family.  Simple kindness, heard in the voice of another, can transform us.  So I have been listening to my own voice lately and have found myself responding with more thoughtful words, acceptance, and patience.

What if we could all hear the supple heart of another and let it soften our own?

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