The Scorched Heart….

IMG_3898The distinct aroma of something that had been on fire permeates the air.  I have always been inexplicably drawn to this odor.  It is a pungeant, yet paradoxically pleasing as I breathe deeply.

I stop and gaze at the dead and wasted grassland, and realize that the township must have been by to burn off the dying, and dried yellow vegetation.

It hits me like an oncoming train that only when we burn off what has become dead in our hearts, can the new promise of fresh and vibrant green growth begin once more.

To begin again….This is ominous. It is kinda annoying to be completely honest, and yet strangely rejuvenating all at the same time.

Such a plethora of emotions swirl about in my tiny brain.  Things inside of me that needed to be torched, to perish, so that something fresh could take hold…like perhaps…fresh hope?

Is this something that happens to us one and all, at inopportune times throughout our lives?  It is inconvenient, and unwanted, and messy, and painful.

Setting the fire is the easy part.  Especially if what you are destroying is dried out, and dead, but  when your kindling is wet, or green, or still somewhat alive, all the fire starter you own will not keep that substance aflame.

I like fires..I always have.  They bring comfort, warmth, a feeling of times shared with family surrounding an eternal flame.  The aftermath and desolation of the fired remnants felt in the black ashes however, can give way to sorrow, and grief…and hopelessness.

Even when the air the next day still holds the remains of what once was..I still must wait for what comes next.

Fresh green of new tender grass does not happen overnight.  It takes patience, time, sunlight and water.  It cannot be rushed. It is on it’s own time schedule, and so it is I’m finding with healing of the heart and mind.

It feels very parched and scorched, and dried out,  your emotional heart.  I’m thankful that the fleshy muscle beats whether I ask it to or not.

Can you imagine if we had to tell our hearts to beat?  We would all be deceased long ago.  With so many things to remember at any given time…things like breathing oxygen and instructing our hearts to keep on pumping the sweet necessary life giving blood …well…our Creator knew that this process would need to be involuntary.

I learned this past weekend, something that I thought I knew, but had forgotten.  Our cells have memory.  They acknowledge and remember grief and trauma.  Things become a part of the fabric of what makes us individuals, by the journey that our lives have taken.

Just like our brains can forge new pathways, and thought patterns, we can change.  We can evolve from our pain, not forgetting those that we choose to remember, but we can create something a little different.

We have to find reasons to move ahead, to pack up our loved ones belongings, to give away, to not get stuck in our memories.

To be honest, at lot of days, I don’t want to move ahead.  I don’t.  There is a tangible fear in me that screams..”you will forget her if you leave this room…her room..her space!”

If you give away her movies, her bedding, clothes and toys, all of her favorite stuff, then the emptiness of the empty room will be devastating.  My mind plays tricks on me, and I wonder if she was even really here in my home, in our lives, in my heart?

Sometimes it feels as if I dwell somewhere between fantasy, desperately wanting to dream about her, and reality.

Sharing her things, and purging my own does do the heart good.  You are not sure that it will, but…it heals.  To give away seems to pump fresh blood back through your arteries and veins, a new and different warmth emanates throughout, and new life is born.

I have heard people declare that they realize that when a person you loved is taken from your arms, there is a revered responsibility to keep living, and not only that, but to live well.  This would seem to bring them honor.  This can be the singular catalyst that would push us onwards, into places that before we didn’t know we would ever tread.

I suppose this barren landscape in the midst of a winter thaw reminds me of “the valley of the shadow of death…”

Taken from Psalm 23…bears repeating, and thinking on…

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love  will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

So much promise in this Psalm…David reminds us that this is something to be counted on…There is hope in this, even in death, there will be new life.  This is the resurrection hope.  “The grave could not hold him…He has risen..”



I really like the part in this Psalm when it talks about, “leading me beside still waters,” there is something in this that lets me exhale, and I note the paradigm shift in my frame as I glance at the blackened meadow, and onto the still lake.

Nature certainly has such lessons to teach, if we choose to pay attention.  My morning walks have become like necessary air in my lungs.  I find that the beginning of my walk I’m usually wrestling with many emotions, but as I wind my way about the water, by the end of the walk I am breathing more evenly, and my turmultuous thoughts seem to quiet like the”still waters.”

The burning up of that which has been used up in us, gives way, if we let it, to new joy.

It’s  so interesting to me how staying in an uncomfortable place becomes comfortable.  Why is the unknown adventure so terrifying?  Why do our patterns, even if they are destructive, and growth stunting imprison us?  This is a curious dynamic.  It’s hard to break free, and step off that virtual cliff into the vast unknown.  It takes trust, in something….bigger than ourselves.

Taking that first step, to embrace our futures, I think happens every day.  It’s in the minute things.  Trying a new exercise, eating different foods, traveling to never before seen destinations….finding a new friendship…daring to just …not know…what happens next.

Looking at our fears directly in the mirror and exclaiming, “I will jump  into the abyss, and even if I fall flat on my face, it far exceeds not leaping at all”  To have “loved and lost,” is excruciating….and even though I kind of despise this saying…I find that it does hold merit.

I recall when Lorin, Zach and Logan, Travus and Zach  jumped from a plane, with a man guide strapped to their backs.  They expressed afterwards with exhilaration all over their faces, that the first step out into thin air was absolutely terrifying, but once they were falling with their arms outstretched like giant eagles, with the earth below like  a distant map…it was the best feeling ever.

They screamed, and screeched, and then yelled some more.  The crazy sound of wind swirling through them, and the freedom of the falling was like no experience that they had ever encountered.

Later watching their dvd’s set to music, by another fellow jumper and videographer, I could almost feel like I had jumped with them…but I had not.  I was scared out of my mind to do it.  When I watched them land in the open green field, and walk away, I was so thankful that they had survived.

They jumped, they fell, but they walked away different.  I guess that’s the reason for the jump in the first place…it’s a chance to be reborn, to see the earth where we exist in a different light, from far above, to maybe have a new perspective about what it means to be truly alive.

 Zach Bice, Lorin, Zach and Logan Brandon, and Travis Greiner

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