Foolish heart, you had just started to heal.
But as I hold you in my hand you once again bleed; old wounds torn open, new wounds raw and vivid against achromatic flesh.
I examine the damage. Once a pure canvas, you are now a war zone, disfigured by the stories you will never tell.
I count the bruises first, trace a finger along your scars, some more faded than others. My finger rests on the one from the first time you were hurt. It was always the deepest one, wasn’t it? I don’t need to look closely to know it still weeps. To know it never healed like you pretended it did.
You were so quick to forgive, to trust again.
You begged to lay upon my sleeve. I warned you against it, that it would make you too vulnerable, but you insisted. You believed in the hearts of others, in the goodness of them. You believed all hearts were the same as you.
You believed in love, for is that not what you were made for?
But you didn’t know how cruel other hearts could be.
You were a soldier on the frontline and you battled hard against the ones who tried to bring you down. Over and over I stitched your wounds until you were a patchwork heart, held together with little more than frayed thread and faltered hope, and yet on my sleeve you stayed and fought until there was too much blood and not enough thread and I placed you back in my chest, determined to keep you safe.
But dear heart, you were so stubborn, and though I told you, “No more!” I could not keep you in my chest, so determined you were to prove me wrong. To prove the power of forgiveness, grace, second chances, unconditional love.
But you weren’t healed. You weren’t ready.
And this time, the wound struck too deep. You couldn’t get back up.
Now you lay limp in my hands, surrendered, defeated. I zigzag the thread through your wounds, pull them closed, hope my saltwater tears cleanse the place where his words plunged into your fragile core.
Precious heart, you have withered, paled, turned cold and stone-like. You no longer believe in love, or in the goodness of other hearts.
But I will keep you safe in me, and you will heal. Soon, the bleeding will stop. Your wounds will become scars, and they will fade with time, reminders of how strong you really are. With each new day I will hear the sound of your resolve as you beat harder against my chest.
Dear heart, I am proud of you. You are right to believe in love and to fight for it.
Don’t allow the ugliness that resides in others take away the beauty in you.
The world is full of hearts like you. Kind hearts, merciful hearts, brave hearts, compassionate hearts, generous hearts, forgiving hearts, loving hearts.
And when you find them, you will know recognize them.
For they too bear the scars of a warrior.
Foolish and determined, just like you, to believe that love can heal a broken world.
Author: Kathy Parker
Editor: Emily Bartran