The big challenge through life is not letting our hearts get hardened. We are born into a world where we feel a danger of getting hurt if we allow ourselves be open at our deepest level. So there is a tendency to shy away from this, to armour our hearts, to hide behind our words or our achievements. Or we numb out the pain that comes from our wanting to be seen but are afraid to risk it. It takes courage to stay open, to tell our story with our whole heart, to step out when there are no guarantees, to stay open to a relationship that may or may not work out, to keep the heart soft and vulnerable.
When I was a child, my grandmother died and was buried in the churchyard in Castlecomer, Ireland. The following year I went there on holiday. One day we drove to visit relatives, I in the back seat with my grandfather. As we pass the gravelled driveway leading up to the churchyard, my grandfather, thinking he was unobserved, pressed his face against the window of the car and with a small, hidden motion of his hand, waved. It was then I came to my first understanding of the majesty and vulnerability of love.
Herbert O Driscoll, A Doorway on Time