A few years ago I made the decision to go back to church and find who I am with Christ. There are reasons why I did this, but they’re not important at the moment. What is important is one of the life changing things that I had learned. I remember going to a women’s conference about a year after, featuring Christa Black Gifford as the speaker. I learned so much at this conference and I grew personally and spiritually in so many ways, but one thing I will never forget is what I learned about the heart.
Christa had talked about having a broken heart – things in her life had caused wear and tear and left her heart weak. As she talked about this, I found tears filling my eyes. I realized that I had similar feelings. I’ll be the first to admit I have issues and I’ve been left with scars on my heart from things that have happened in my past. People have done me wrong and I’ve been left to fend for myself by building walls and pushing people away as soon as they get close. But the more I began to identify what was wrong and where the hurt came from, the more I was able to fix it. So when I ask people how their heart is, I don’t do so in hopes of making them sad, I do it because I’m genuinely curious and I don’t believe people think about their heart nearly as often as they should.
There is a form of art in the Chinese culture where pottery is broken and glued back together with a gold-glue mixture. What ends up being created is beautiful pottery with gold lines painted across it in place of the cracks. This art-form is known as “Kintsugi.” I wish we could take our broken hearts and fill them with gold. Rather than looking at what’s broken as something that’s ugly and irreparable, we can find a way to make it beautiful. We can take the cracks that leave us angry, and fill them with kindness; the cracks that make us cry, and fill them with love; the cracks that make us judgmental, and fill them with acceptance. Change is hard, especially when it stems from a place of such deep emotion. Changing your heart is like resetting a bone – it may hurt like hell, but in the end, it will allow the heart to heal back stronger than it was before.
Our hearts need to be reset and made strong.
Our hearts need to be filled with gold and made beautiful.
How’s your heart?
We all know the golden rule: “treat others the way you want to be treated.” And while this is a wonderful rule to follow, it rarely is. The problem is that in times of strong emotion such as sadness or anger, our mind goes towards ourselves and not others – we think of how we’re being treated and not how we should treat other people. All we can focus on is doing what we can to make ourselves feel better, then we can treat others the way we want to be treated (but only if they treat us that way first). I’m going to be honest… I think this rule is garbage. It’s a rule that brings out the selfish nature in humans and encourages us to act based on how we think we should act, which, can sometimes be very wrong. Yes, treating others the way we want to be treated is good, but it’s important to remember that we’re all different and what I can handle may be very different from what you can handle.
A while back I was scrolling through social media when I found the phrase, “always be kinder than you feel.” I thought to myself, “now THIS is a rule I can get on board with.” Have you ever known someone who had a habit of casting their emotions on other people? This is the kind of person who, when feeling low, needs everyone else to be low with them. They’re not thinking about treating others the way they want to be treated, they’re thinking about treating others the way the feel they’re being treated – again, the selfishness in our nature is brought out. But if this person instead thought about being kinder than they were feeling, maybe things could be different.
There are days where I feel anything but kind. I wake up with a heavy heart and negative energy seems to be a lot easier to deal with than positive energy. But it’s days like this that I try extra hard to be nice. I remind myself over and over to be kinder than I feel. Obviously this isn’t something that I accomplished in a day and there are times where I have failed miserably, but I like to think that as long as I keep trying, I’m accomplishing something. The other night I was so angry I could barely sleep. One of my friends was being treated with an incredible amount of disrespect by another friend, and I couldn’t handle it. I wanted to scream, to lash out, to tell the person everything they were doing wrong… but I didn’t. Instead, I sent the person a message letting them know I’m sorry for what they’re going through. I let them know that I had talked to God about them, and I hope the hurt they feel goes away. I didn’t react to anger with more anger, I reacted with kindness and compassion.
Always be kinder than you feel.
Over these past few days, the topic of forgiveness has been strangely present in my life. Whether it’s a topic being discussed in class or something brought up over the course of a conversation with friends, I’ve noticed it lingering for quite some time. I’m currently taking a Pakistani Literature course, so there’s obviously a lot of talk about the Partition and the life of people in Pakistan and India. A few days ago, we watched a short documentary about a girl who’s father and uncle tried killing her for marrying a man without their permission – they shot her and threw her in the river because she had disrespected them and “tarnished” the family name. As this young girl who had just been traumatized and severely injured began seeking justice for what had been done, she was coerced into publicly forgiving her father and uncle, which, according to Pakistani law, meant they were innocent and free to go. Later on, the young girl said these men were forgiven in the name of the law, but they would never be forgiven in her heart.
These situations are never easy. As a devout Christian, I believe very strongly in forgiveness. I believe the only reason I am able to live the way I do is because I have been forgiven. But what do you do when someone tried to kill you, or if someone hurt you in a way that was irreparable? Do you forgive them? Is it possible to forgive them? I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer… everybody reacts to things differently and everybody believes in different things. But I think grudges hold you down and put a weight on your heart that can become detrimental to growth.
Maybe some people don’t deserve forgiveness, but the world would be a much different place if everyone got what they deserve. I believe in the power of letting go – what’s been done can never be undone and you may always be left with a scar to remind you of what has happened, but until you let go, you’re picking at a scab that’s trying to heal. You’re making the process last longer and become more painful.
Wish people the best, even if they’ve given you the worst. Send a prayer or a good thought their way, and let go.
You ask how I have the audacity to think I matter when there are 7 billion people on this earth
But you would never take the sea and deny its wonder
You would never take a rose and deny its beauty
And you would never take a dollar bill and deny its worth
You ask how I have the audacity to think I matter
When you listen to the rain and feel peace as each drop hits the ground and you lose track of time
You ask how I have the audacity to think I matter
When there are more dollar bills
And more rain than there are people and yet
Every day you find beauty in the littlest of things
You have the audacity to think none of us matter
When we all have something to give
Something to love
Something to change
So I ask you
How can you have the audacity to think none of us matter
When there are 7 billion people on this earth
And 5 quadrillion square feet of earth to change?
“Home is where the heart is.”
“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.”
“Home – a place your feet may leave but your heart will always be.”
The longer I’m away from home, the more I begin to question what “home” actually is. When I leave school for breaks, it no longer feels like I’m going home – it just feels like leaving school. But I feel at home when I spend late nights at a donut shop with one of my best friends, or when I go on random Target runs with my literal BFF. I even feel at home when I spend hours in the car talking to my brother about life and all it encompasses. I don’t feel at home when I’m at home. I feel at home when I’m sitting in the nearby soda shop hanging out with my college friends. I feel at home when we spend hours in the library studying, when really we’re just hanging out. But I don’t feel at home when I’m at college. So, what is home?
Maybe there’s more validity to these sayings than we can understand until we venture out to find our own sense of home. I stumbled upon one quote by Matsuo Basho that says, “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” I’m not sure Matsuo could have gotten any closer to the truth. We spend our whole lives wandering from one place to the other – sometimes we’ll stay for a while, other times we’ll leave about as soon as we got there. It’s because of this that calling a place a home can be difficult. But I think we do a pretty good at job and finding a home within the journey. We try new things, spend time with the people we love, and we push forward to tomorrow. And all the while, we find ourselves at home over and over again.
Eat the donut- it might bring you home.