Circumstance wields it's enchanted axe and cuts away pieces of ourselves. Slowly, like L. Frank Baum's Tin Woodman, we discover our core replaced by shiny, silvery metal...brilliant in the sun but heartless underneath. Cynicism and disbelief play king-of-the-castle where love once skipped and sang.
Weary. Broken. Hurting. Angry. Alone. Time, oblivious and rude, moves on. The sun rises and sets and rises again.
...happily ever after fails...we've been poisoned by these fairy tales.
And just when things look really bleak. Hope, small and faint appears on the horizon. Dorothy and the Scarecrow find the Tin Man, oil his rusted joints, and invite him to join them towards Oz. And the Tin Woodman can't resist. He wants his heart back.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4.16-18, ESV
Opportunities abound to numb the ache or to lie down and die completely in the battle for heart. I want to carve my initials in this life. I want to say I was here. That I didn't lose heart. That I didn't trade in what matters most - to live a life full of love - with what was shiny and silvery and safe.
Love is never far from danger.
OVER THE RHINE, "BLUER"
And love can't live and breathe without heart.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
PROVERBS 4.23, ESV
Soak up the good, wield the bad, and let it all prepare you, renew you, forge in you the better, the stronger, the more complete. All the while, keeping your eyes fixed on the One who endured, who suffered, who gave it all. A cross, a thorny wreath, a weary tomb.....a conquered grave.
Pain is real but it isn't final. Hope stands guard, watching through the night. Eternity rises and grows on the horizon. And so we do not loose heart.