Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Grilled Grandma and a Patchwork Heart.....

A few days ago I had a hilarious email forwarded from my friend Crystal about the joys of aging. It was the one about stretched bathing suits and staying up till 4am, and extra cookies and cement geckos - you have possibly seen it. I roared with laughter as I read it, and then I started thinking. It was this part ..............."Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect." (I have no idea where the email came from or who wrote it, so I am just crediting the author here. Thank you!)

Anyway, it made me think about how we go around trying to protect ourselves from hurt, from denting those hearts of ours. How we avoid some things because we want to keep our hearts whole and pristine and perfect. Stupid. Really stupid.

My heart has been dented plenty, and oh yes, I have tried to protect it, and have regarded the dents as flaws. Weaknesses. I know that it is hard to trust again if your heart has been broken. I know it is difficult to risk love, if you know that gives the loved one the power to hurt you. I know people die, pets die, people say terrible things, do terrible things. I know accidents happen. Life can take some horrible turns, and I know that too.

But what I had not thought about was that scar tissue. Once it forms, the scar tissue, that is, it is thicker than the surrounding skin. Maybe stronger, because of the thickness. It has been broken, it has healed and still works. And I KNOW THAT. I look at my leg, where I had an operation when I was 10 years old. There is a scar, and the stitch marks are clearly visible. But I know it is whole and fixed, because I can see it. Every day. It looks different, but it is part of me, and it works.

So back to that heart of ours. Pristine, unblemished, perfect? Or patched, dented, and clearly used well? Geoff used to laugh when I bought metres of fabric, came home and chopped it all up and sewed it together again to make quilts. He did not get the creative quilt thing, and wanted to know why I cut up perfect fabric - whole and pristine, and then sewed it up again. To make something even better, I used to say. But you are losing so much of the fabric in seams, he said - ah yes, but I am making it stonger too, I said. More beautiful.

I think my heart is a patchwork heart. I think that, after 55 years, it is scarred, dented, bashed and a little lopsided, and the scar lines are the seams of the patchwork. So many patches stitched together. It is unique. It is mine. And it tells the story of my life.

And if I had lived in a bubble, never shed a tear, never hurt, or laughed till I could hardly breathe, or loved so much, or lost at all, it may have been pristine and perfect, but boring. Unused. Neutral. Nothing.

There is no such thing as an unused heart. While there is life, it beats. And where there is life, there is all the other stuff. The dents. It is inescapable. The more patches on the heart, the bigger it gets. The stronger it will be. Infinite capacity to grow.

I like being older. My heart may be all the above - but it fits perfectly.

And now for something COMPLETELY different!

I am a Grilled Grandma !!!! How exciting is that. Hop on over and have a look! Lisa has a wonderful blog, and I thoroughly enjoyed being grilled. And reading other Grandma's stories too!

I am about to attempt putting the badge up here. Hmmm. It may be a trifle challenging. I have however, put it in the sidebar, so it is easy to click on it and see my grilling!

(I apologise for the multiple postings on this post - I am trying to sort things. Really. )


Kate said...

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” C S Lewis

Linds said...

Superb, Kate. Absolutely superb.

Barbara said...

So, so true and well written. Your sweet granddaughter is growing fast and I see she will have no shortage of hats.

Sorry to read about Diane and prayers go out to her for wisdom to get to the bottom of it all and for a speedy recovery.

Needled Mom said...

Great, great post, Linds. I have received that e-mail and thought how true it really is, but there is no other way we would want it to be.

Edith said...

Love the "patchwork heart" Thanks for sharing - it is so true.

Keeping you and Diana in my thoughts and prayers...hope she gets answers soon...and that you have peace being so far away.

Keep are always an encouragement. Thanks for your comments on my blog as well.

Chris said...

I loved the email when you sent it. Sent it on to my cousin, and heard back from her that it couldn't have come at a better time...her best friend's son (37) had just died.

How short life is, no matter how long we live.

Love the photo of you and the beautiful Missy!

Vee said...

Oh this is a wonderful post. I'm beaming as I read it. Scars...quite a topic and it reminds me that love results in scars. He has them, too.

A grilled grandma? Wow! I'm off to check it now...Great photo, too!

Dawn said...

I love the interchange between you and Geoff about the fabric - great memory.

I love the name "moregranny" - perfect.

Love the interview.

Olson Family said...

great post - wonderful weave of thoughts - Thank You!

Meggie said...

Such a lovely post. So true about our hearts.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Just trying to catch up a little's been fun to read of all your doings and musings. I have missed them, in this too-busy season!

I love the metaphor of the patchwork heart!