Ronald Steed

Murmuration of the Heart...

Mystic Micro-Gospels; small spiritual stories in and around my neighborhood in Southeast CT

As I finish a tidy story about pervasive self-criticism, the Chaplain’s energy seems to sink deeper into the chair. She tilts her head a little to the side and a pout forms. It’s sadness; sadness that begs to be engaged. It’s not that my story made her sad; it is her sadness for me… for that small, clean lockbox of a story… a box that hides something vulnerable in the heart, tightly shut and out-of-sight. Her sadness is a wordless invitation: “Won’t you go farther? Won’t you let me help you into a healing moment?" I begin to talk and the tears well up... then flow. I'm past the point in life where I try to hide them, so they track down my cheeks. I stop talking.


"Where are these tears from?" she asks gently.


A thousand thoughts fly up from the marsh of my heart... into the mind’s sky they lift and murmurate… they coalesce into twisting undulating shape-shifting patterns and folds that dissipate and appear. This is my ego trying to regain control… to find the words that will intellectualize the question and keep the heart hidden. For a moment, I watch the spectacle, falling into the enchantment of it.


But the Healing Spirit is not so much in the words of the mind;
She is in the vulnerable catharsis of a heart released from its burden, held in holy hands by another.


I’m brought back to my right mind and gently set the ego aside. “Rest." By their thousands, they sink and settle back into the reeds, leaving my heart open, its wounds showing, resting in the loving hands of my Chaplain. Living waters flow….


After the silence of a little while I say. “Tears are a gift." "They are" she says softly, “a gift of healing you can give to others…."



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