No one but God and I know what is in my heart. To make it explicit is my sublime request.
My only tool to work this garden of my heart is my own mind. My own busy mind. My garden has a complex and rich soil. It is at once fertile and barren, easy and arduous, rewarding and denying.
The soil is old. Thought, word and deed are the tools that work it. They are divided into two opposing forces, each having qualities of both. They are like two sister. They divide their time and energies between those forces that succor love and those that embody hate.
They dwell side by side, existing for and because of one another. They are ageless adversaries locked in mortal loving combat, wrecking havoc while tacitly yearning for the strength and vitality of the other: Love and Hate, two sisters locked in an everlasting duel.
Both sisters bear witness to their own existence. Love tells of its tools that once worked within its dark loam; of flowers drooped with want of moisture and light, the call of its life-giving shouts. Hate is witness to its own legacy. Fear gropes upon itself, pulling its hard and dry tail through the gathering darkness: down, away from the light.
The tools of Love and Hate speak to me of such things as makes the soil of my heart’s garden hospitable for the silver strands of its sinewy glory. Joy is great and terrible at the same time whereas Hate grows its tendrils of fear and doubt like the quiet laughter of a derisive opponent. It undermines the growth it so desperately needs.
Sometimes I manage to hear the wind among the leaves high above, see the verdant colors of trees wet from a recent rain. But it is fleeting. My heart is full and yet pathetically empty. And I do not know why; I haven’t answers: only questions…always more questions.
Why do I run away then? It is sorrowful; shameful. After all, God’s love is not complicated; we don’t need to think about it. I imagine it is not unlike the natural affection dogs instinctually evoke in us. It is a matter of instinct.
Life and its irrepressible chapters cannot be without a cosmic design. I feel as if everything that has happened to me has been written beforehand. But not fatalistically; not in any deterministic sort of way. Faith and trust in the goodness of the Giver is more to the mark.
If I can trust that God gives me exactly what I need at every turn in my life, then I can use that trust to build on what I can call faith: faith in the ultimate meaning of this life. But I have a blind man's sight; I cannot see the journey ahead; it grows dim before my squinting eyes, vanishing altogether as I timorously approach its shore. I succumb to fear and inevitably become unconscious: darkness ensues and I am lost, drifting on a sea of uncertainty and doubt.
And so I must journey without a compass, drawn only by the lure of the distant blue sky. Day and night, morning and evening, dusk to gloam. Each day, putting my love to the proof, so that one day I may know of a covenant so strong as to resist the corrosive elements of fear and self disapprobation.
And what of the dark places in my heart; those about which only God and I know? I sometimes sit quietly, listening to the sounds of doubt and fear as they crash into each other’s arms; the well-worn doubts with pathways as sure to my mind as a Bedouin’s route to the oasis. Denying myself the satisfaction of knowing, of experiencing my own guilt, I trick myself. My mind asks why I was given this burden of incomplete awareness?
Perhaps it is because I am enamored of Truth that I find myself unwhole; I lust after its intimate details, greedily turning over each clod of earth: searching. Is it Truth that finds me unhappy? Is it the quest that unbalances me? The elegance of life’s moral equation chides my mind with its utter simplicity. I am its fool.
But I was at peace once, blissfully existing in this same confusing world. I felt its completeness, so close to my earth. (There I tended my garden with love and equanimity: the garden of my primordial heart; that heart which we all share: the sacred heart). It is this peace that I crave now.
Please make the love that is felt in sweet solitude my implement. Solitude that is not loneliness, but within which the presence of God can be forever felt; felt and fingered like a stout garden tool. A useful tool that with each purposeful stroke of its shining blade, it can coax fruit from inert soil. May I once again exult in the feel of its smooth well-worn handle as it glides through my calloused fingers. .
I do not know what stands in the way. It may be that it is the music that I await; the music of the very tools I welcome and disdain...my own tools (that I have at this moment) that stand poised to plow the fertile soil of my path. “Surely no one is bad who loves,” I say to myself. “Love is the only answer you need”.
If only I could trust God (trust myself) to show me the way…my garden may one day bear the sweet fruit that it is most certainly its destiny.
Read more articles by michael CERZA or search for articles on the same topic or others.