Friday, July 10, 2009

"...only one way to mend a broken heart..."

"Take me to the breaking of a beautiful dawn
Take me to the place where we come from
Take me to the end so I can see the start
There's only one way to mend a broken heart..."

If you know my relationship to this place high in the Rocky Mountains, deep within the palm of Five Fingers, along the rushing headwaters of the Arkansas the valley of my own "heaven on earth," you may think this song, "Beautiful Dawn," by the Wailing Jennys, is geographical for me.   It is not.

"...Take me to the place where I don't feel so small
Take me where I don't need to stand so tall
Take me to the edge so I can fall apart
There's only one way to mend a broken heart..."

This place, where I consistently "don't feel so small" is not a camp (although camp is a great place to reconnect with this self-certainty about my worth in God's eyes), nor is it a place in the midst of other like-minded spiritual thinkers (although these friends are a wonderful "place" to practice setting aside self, in service to others).  No, this place is not is spiritual. 

"...Take me where love isn't up for sale
Take me where our hearts are not so frail
Take me where the fire still owns its spark
There's only one way to mend a broken heart..."

One of the hardest days of camp for campers each year is not they day they head out on three-day adventure trips to peak a 14,000 foot mountain, raft a raging river, or drive 900 head of cattle 12 hours a day.  The most challenging day of camp is the day they have to leave.  Each year I see scores of campers over the last few days as they seek courage in returning to their "old lives."  These young men and women long to stay connected to their "most best selves."  They long to be sure that the fire of spirituality within them really, truly "owns its spark."

"...Teach me how to see when I close my eyes
Teach me to forgive and to apologize
Show me how to love in the darkest dark
There's only one way to mend a broken heart..."

This summer I have seen so many instances when "love in the darkest dark" has led to a natural giving up of opinion and judgment.  Into that space of forgiveness, love rushes in and fills that very darkness with the light of friendship and grace.  This is the "place" where we see clearly...even when we close our eyes.

"...Take me where the angels are close at hand
Take me where the ocean meets the sky and the land
Show me to the wisdom of the evening star
There's only one way to mend a broken heart..."

In this space, the angels are always close at hand to govern, guide, and guard our innocence and wonder...our hopes and ideals.  In this space where we see with closed eyes, an evening star has the wisdom of simplicity, the song of the ocean meets a prairie dancing wildly in the wind, and the sky is as vast as our biggest dreams. 

"...Take me to the place where I feel no shame
Take me where the courage doesn't need a name
Learning how to cry is the hardest part
There's only one way to mend a broken heart..."

In this place there is no shame...only lessons learned, discoveries made, and new paths revealed.  In this place our tears are the welcome waters where baptism and reformation wipe clean our views of ourselves...and others.  In this place we learn we are not alone in our struggle to live our best selves consistently, persistently, without condition.  These past two weeks at camp opened a window on this place to all of us.  And it is a "buena vista" we don't want to lose sight of...ever.

Yesterday over one hundred campers tearfully boarded buses for Denver International Airport for flights headed to Florida, Missouri, Maine, Oregon...and dozens of other ports around the be met by family and friends eager to welcome them home. For many those tears represented a hunger to know that the place they had discovered high in the Rockies was not geographical...but spiritual.  They long to know that it abides in them and cannot be displaced by miles or kilometers.  

As one counselor shared with a camper at the airport, "Now you get the opportunity to go home and bless everyone there with the spirituality you have gained at camp." 

This is sharing of our best, most loving, generous, unselfed selves...this living of the "only one way to mend a broken heart."  And as Mary Baker Eddy says in
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,

"If we would open their prison doors for the sick,
we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted."

As you pray for your world today, please join with me in breathing "a silent benediction" of love and gratitude on the lives of these young men and women.  Pray they feel this space within themselves with such abiding resonance and conviction that they never wonder if this fire within them "owns its spark." This is the fire...within each of us...that will never go out.


Kate Robertson, CS

[photo credit: Stacey Vandermast Barton]

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