by Kristen

My heart is porous. The compartments aren’t armor-plated. I thought the bitterness and frustration in the career chamber stayed hermetically sealed at work; cynicism and disgust were safely walled off in the news and politics section. I assumed apathy, fear, joy and hope all knew their places and remained in their segregated zones. But I was wrong.

The walls in my heart are little more than illusions. I am not a series of spaces designated for specific roles and relationships but rather I carry all I am into every moment of every day. That changes everything.

The spillover of pessimism and pride permeates all sectors: work, recreation, church, family, friends. My heart is a floodplain, and the highly viscous nature of the negative threatens the positive. Speedy sarcasm smothers slow-spreading empathy. Impatience overruns discretion. Uncontainable bitterness contaminates more of me than I want to admit.

But . . . if it’s a heart issue—not a church issue or a relationship issue—I can stop my whack-a-mole approach every time frustration pops up in a new setting. The problem is no longer cynicism outside of the media box. It’s cynicism. Period. It’s not about herding the reaction back into its approved area, but instead asking if it has any place in my character at all.

I can stop patrolling the perimeter of each room—interior seepage is not my concern. When I guard my whole heart then what pours out of me drowns the fears of living a divided life.

And that is surprisingly freeing.



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