No 37: Baring Secrets
“Baring Secrets” speaks to some new and very personal things stirring inside me in the past few months. Most significantly, the ideas of love and vulnerability. I met a man recently who I formed an instant friendship with. From the get go, it was less like meeting for the first time and more like remembering someone I haven’t seen in a very very long time. It is the very same sort of feeling I had when I first met my fiancé.
Being faced with such a connection has left me both thrilled and terrified. Both happy and conflicted. And interestingly enough, I now realize why it took so long for the heart images to come to fruition. I think things were getting in the way on purpose until my heart was in the very space it needed to be to tell this story – until the circumstances of meeting this person came about.
There are stories of fear and bravery here. Stories of the secrets I hold deep within me… the places of pain that no one else sees. Places even I have not dared to venture within myself since my fiance died. Places that I have sewn tightly shut for the past two and a half years. Places that I know – once the stitches are removed – have the potential to be very painful and scary.
So it goes with the heart… with the possibility of allowing someone new into the most sacred parts of ourselves. It is not only for the widowed, but for anyone who risks their heart. Because we have to open up the stitches of old wounds if we’re really going to love and be loved. We have to be willing to bare the secrets that reside in those most private, dark, dirty, worn corners of us if we ever want a chance to feel that beautiful soul-filled unconditional love from another.
It is not easy to open up these deepest wounds. It takes incredible bravery. The open air can be excruciating at times. We have no guarantee that the person who is loosening the stitches will do so gently and with love. No guarantee that they won’t try to rip them out, or seal them shut without a care to heal them. All we can do, is hope, and trust that we chose someone who can do the job right.
God, it is terrifying… so terrifying to let new hands begin to loosen the stitches. Especially when someone else had already done the job so well, years ago. Someone else, who’s death caused new stitches. But… I think, far more terrifying to never let new hands touch the heart. To never try and allow someone to be gentle with me. Because in that, I will never learn that someone new can do the job well, too.
After years of hiding it away, I am finally presenting my heart bravely, and allowing some of those stitches to be loosened. Not all of them, and not all the way. But some, and slowly. Thus far, these new hands have been gentle. They have not tried to open my heart any more than I am ready for. They have not tried to sew the wounds back shut once they saw inside. Instead, they have held my battered heart quietly, with strength – seeming to know that all it needs is to be held, to be seen as fully as it wants to be seen.
Wonderful, powerful imagery! Such bravery…
Beautiful Sarah…and oh so well said. You are amazing…and courageous…and now the teacher. xox
Sarah – your words take me back to meeting my current husband after the death of my first. I felt so vulnerable and confused and yet knew on every level that this was a gift – the chance to love again! We have been married 24 years in July and the greatest gift he gave me was to learn about the scars of my heart and to allow a safe place for my tears to continue to fall, without jealousy or competition. I LOVE the image but I don’t feel like my stitches loosened, rather they became one with my flesh – forming scar tissue and teaching my heart an important lesson – RESILIENCY!
Wow!!!! This picture just hit me before I even read your blog. I lost my partner suddenly just over two years ago, and this picture just spoke to me more than I think any image ever has. Wonderful work, inspiring idea. Thank you. I have tears in my eyes as some of my heart stitches just got pulled out knowing that someone else feels the same pains. I look forward to seeing more of your work.
Wow, this is a huge compliment… thank you SO much for writing me. I’m so very sorry you’re on this journey too, and wishing you careful mending and unraveling of the heart!