This morning she awoke with a different sensation bubbling up in her heart. But it wasn’t what was bubbling that struck her the most; it was this instant recognition that it was drastically divergent from the companions that had been sharing her days for some weeks now, maybe months—actually years if you were brave enough to press in beyond the easy answer and ask “how are you?” more than once, and really mean it.
Apathy. Wandering. A touch of Loneliness. Well, maybe more than a touch. Probably more like the deep end of the pool that sometimes feels like that expanse of ocean experienced when one swims out beyond the break of the waves. There are no sides to hold onto out there when the legs grow weary from treading water. One simply wills him or herself to tread longer, or … sink.
These were some of her companions, but there were others too.
Insanity. Really, just a sense of insanity, but not the kind we call crazy where the mind can’t distinguish thought from reality—the kind that causes a mind to break into pieces and take up residence in the fractured places of darkness. No. This is the heart kind of insanity where what’s offered up and out to be heard and accepted and understood and nurtured bounces back in confusing ways. Ways that speak one thing but demonstrate another. Ways that almost force her to choose between what she hears and what she sees. Ways that allow room for her to grasp at hope for change but often back her into a corner where she has to consider a reality that may not be what she’s built around her. A carefully constructed environment often betrays what lies behind closed doors.
This kind of insanity is dangerously deceptive because while crazy tends to prominently display itself, the heart can hide itself in pretend smiles and creative words that tell a story of what’s longed for but not actually lived out.
And then there are those questions unanswered. Constant questions can spin a mind into a cycle of unknowing that feels endless and exhausting. Questions about what’s been and what is and what will be—and how they all fit together. Questions about what’s true versus what’s believed, and the fact that the forces of life’s winds can twist and bend us until up seems down and down seems up. And we’ll stake our lives, and the lives of those around us, on this upside-down truth. That’s a world with which she’s become far too acquainted. A world she chose to settle into because it seemed as if it were the only option offered. But was it? Is it? What if we don't see other options because we're just not willing to look in a different direction? Many say they see, but how many actually look?
What happens when questions remain unanswered for too long? When not knowing no longer satisfies the often-distorted stability of uncertainty? When the desire for answers trumps unanswered acceptance? A heart can only ask for so long before it just stops asking.
She’s heard it said, “One should not ask a question they don’t want to know the answer to.” And she’s understood for some time now that many happily abide by that suggested life policy, and do so with ease. Many don’t ask because there simply isn’t a desire to know, and she’s been wondering if that’s equally proportional to their desire to not be known. Questions are necessary though—vital actually—to fully living instead of just surviving, to knowing instead of just being.
The mystery of the human heart—just like the Mystery of God—is hidden, not to be forever buried, but to be uncovered by those who desire to search for it and appreciate the adventure; and deep is not meant for those who are content to float on the surface, but too many are.
What if we dared to look deeply and stayed long enough to gain trusted access into this hidden place? We may discover a world that’s pleading to be inhabited, where the ground is lush with life and love, and the soil is fertile for growing so many things new. Where treasure remains unearthed because no one’s yet dug deep enough to find it. Where the fraudulent belief that knowing someone is a finite process actually dissipates and then stretches into the wondrously wild and borderless expanse that was breathed into man by the One who is infinite.
But to many—to most, more often than not—this hidden place is too hazardous a path to travel because it requires a conscious choice to step over awkward and into the delicate and fragile territory of the unchartered human soul. It’s risky business here because easy answers don’t work, and listening is more profitable than being heard, and questions become the shovel to the buried treasure of the heart.
And really, isn’t there some truth to the thought that we’ve been lulled into this belief that comfortable clichés are enough? That communicating knowledge and being heard are the same as being known? And those years marked off on the calendar equal knowing someone instead of what they really are … just time?
I wonder how much would change if we dared to look deeply?