This is the walkway to the door of my office at the Youth Center – after every rainfall a perfect heart forms in the same spot on the path. When it is not raining there is no noticeable difference in the paved walkaway. I have wondered on other occasions what causes the heart to form… but in the rush to get on with my work day and with many things on my mind, I never really let the gift of the puddle heart sink in, until this morning.
Today, in the warmth of the glorious sun, I stopped and appreciated the puddle heart. I felt an overwhelming sense of love, purpose, direction. I felt unexpected inspiration.
My puddle encounter immediately called to mind the times in my life that I have been accused of “wearing my heart on my sleeve”. I always found that to be a strange thing to be “accused” of. I never understood why it would be perceived as a bad thing to be: loving, open to others, compassionate, willing to risk a bit of damage to my exposed self if that was what another person needed of me. I know how that my heart on my sleeve is part of who I am, and in many ways what called me into Ministry with the Church.
I like being available and honest with the teens I minister to and with. I like them to see me in my authentic, Catholic truth… tears, frustration, anger, love, joy… all of it. As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that much of “accusation” is based in fear – fear of being hurt, fear of being wronged, fear of being alone. I believe that being in true relationship with others, with yourself, with God requires the risk of putting your heart out there front and center and right in the middle of the path. Just like the puddle heart.
I peaked back out at the walkway, just a little while later and the puddle heart was completely gone. No sign of it at all, just a normal blacktop path between the driveway and the steps and God’s message was clear. Every day we have a choice. I have a choice. I can choose to be Christ’s love in the paths of those that I encounter or I can choose to be an ordinary concrete path. It doesn’t matter if most days people step around love, ignore love, are blind to love, because if I continue to be love, I am doing all that God has called me to do.
I know it is not easy. Some days are hard, miserable, really. But today, my prayer for you is that you are unexpectedly inspired to be LOVE. (This piece was written by our Youth Minister and Young Adult leader, Christine Goss.)