There's a gate at the opening to my heart. It wasn't always there. I vaguely remember being young and adventurous and the way love traversed from out to in, then out again. Sometimes it was painful, and sometimes it was filled with joy.
My heart called to some on the outside. Please come in, it said, wanting to play. Instead they stayed just outside the gate, warming themselves in the heat of the beating. And then they were gone, off to find another heart to play with. My heart didn't like it much.
Others came through the gate, tentative at first, exploring their feelings as I explored mine. And after awhile, our hearts decided that although it was great fun, there were other places to go. We waved to each other as I watched them close the gate behind them, wishing them well. And though it was right that they leave, my heart didn't' like it much.
Some busted through the gate, and used my heart for a trampoline. They soared and I longed to reach the clouds with them. As it turned out, my heart was just a jumping off place for them. Soon they found the exit, and I felt tromped on. My heart didn't like it much at all.
After all the "not liking it much," I kicked everyone out. And it occurred to me, that my heart would be much safer if it were alone behind the gate. I slammed it shut, and put a huge lock on it, so no one would ever tromp my heart again. Still, I didn't feel safe. I looked around, hoping to find something with which to build a great wall. I felt lucky to find some rocks and stones that I hadn't noticed before. Perhaps they had been left by those who had gone. They were called pain, fear and powerlessness. And they were perfect for building a wall. Finished and exhausted, I lay inside the gate, and felt nothing. And I didn't like it much.
So I touched those rocks every day, ran my fingers against their rough edges. The pain seared my fingertips, and fear slit my skin. Powerlessness left bruises everywhere. And yet I touched them, let the feelings tear at my heart. Great sobs escaped my lips, and tears ran from eyes that remembered how to cry.
I am here, screamed my heart, longing to play, and explore, and be tromped on. By touching the rocks of pain, fear and powerlessness, you have worn them away. Remove the lock and throw open the gate.
I did as my heart requested, with a new understanding that I don't need the wall to keep me safe. And wouldn't you know it, the gate has hinges and a latch. I need simply choose who may come in, who must go out, and who may pitch a tent and stay for another day. And I like it very much.