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The Big Heart

This is a poem by one of my favourite poets Anne Sexton. she went through a lot of suffering and struggled with depression amongst other things. And yet, she went through periods in which God was very real to her and wrote some of the most beautiful, honest and poignant words on her life of faith.

My heart aches these days with a pain that is too much at times. I ache for my family.  In my victim impact statement, I ended by saying that there is something that makes me more sad than anything else – things didn’t need to  be this way. My dad never should have violated me. My mother should have believed and protected me and gotten me help. When Children’s Aid became involved, my family should have allowed themselves to be helped. There were numerous attempts at reconciliation. My dad could have admitted to the police everything at the very beginning and because our courts encourage early confessions, he would have had a lesser sentence.

Instead, my mother is left with 6 children at home and a harsh reality that either she knowingly denied or is utterly unprepared to deal with. Either possibility breaks my heart.

What makes my heart ache most right now, is my longing to do SOMETHING to help. Oh how I’ve sat with my phone in my hand wanting to call, a piece of paper in my hand to write. I’ve tried to think of ways I can help.

But see – I am the enemy right now. Until that changes, all I can do is pray.

I believe prayer is a gift from God and I believe that God answers prayer. But prayer seems so not enough when you want to reach out and give your loved ones a hug and hold them in their crying.

I am quite blessed right now to have so many people praying for me (and my family for that matter). So many people who care. So many offers of help. So much love. There are people who I do not know who are lifting me up in prayer adn thinking of me at this time.

And I am hanging in there.

But I owe that to a God who never leaves me nor forsakes me and to the many people he has blessed me with.

And so, I offer this poem as a thank you to each and everyone of you who reads this blog, who thinks of me, who has heard my cries and anxious heart, who has believed in me, who has offered their homes and hearts to me. I’ve left Anne’s original names in the poem – but you can read your name into it.

From the bottom of my big heart – wide as a watermelon – there is so much abundance in the people I have – and I want to say thank you.

‘Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.’ – From an essay by W. B. Yeats

Big heart,
wide as a watermelon,
but wise as birth,
there is so much abundance
in the people I have:
Max, Lois, Joe, Louise,
Joan, Marie, Dawn,
Arlene, Father Dunne,
and all in their short lives
give to me repeatedly,
in the way the sea
places its many fingers on the shore,
again and again
and they know me,
they help me unravel,
they listen with ears made of conch shells,
they speak back with the wine of the best region.
They are my staff.
They comfort me.

They hear how
the artery of my soul has been severed
and soul is spurting out upon them,
bleeding on them,
messing up their clothes,
dirtying their shoes.
And God is filling me,
though there are times of doubt
as hollow as the Grand Canyon,
still God is filling me.
He is giving me the thoughts of dogs,
the spider in its intricate web,
the sun
in all its amazement,
and a slain ram
that is the glory,
the mystery of great cost,
and my heart,
which is very big,
I promise it is very large,
a monster of sorts,
takes it all in—
all in comes the fury of love.

-Anne Sexton, The Big Heart

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