I heard preachers say it so often growing up: There is a God-shaped hole in everyone’s heart. God needs to come into your heart and fill the hole.
How presumptious and nonsensical. What shape would God be, anyway? and this heart business had me confused. If our heart or soul is without substance, how could it have a hole in it?
One of my family’s favorite movies “It’s a Wonderful Life” describes a different sort of hole. George Bailey gets a chance to see how the world would be different if he were never born. A hole in the world that no one but him could see, since all the people he’d been kind to didn’t know the difference.
I’ve been learning a few things. This year I’ve been concentrating on not stressing out, and it turns out the best advice on this includes being grounded.
A year ago, I would have stressed out just hearing that phrase. “Being grounded? What does that mean?” I would have felt like throwing that advice against the wall for being useless.
See? I said I needed to learn to not stress out. As I began to try and practice the lessons I was given it turns out that being grounded is extremely practical. One book said to focus on breathing: lower my shoulders and act as if every breath I took was my best friend.
Hmm. I tried that. I love my friends. I practiced loving this breath with all the abandon and acceptance and pleasure my good friends give me.
Oh. Yeah. I could do that.
And as I did, my body–which was so frustrating for so many ways!!!–took a different shape. Yes, my shoulders dropped intentionally. And my legs and my hands and my back assumed a different pose as I lay down my worries and focussed on loving my breath.
The hole in the physical world that I filled had changed shape. And not just shape, it had changed–what?
In the absence of George Bailey, Bedford Falls becomes Pottersville because the evil Mr. Potter ran unchecked. That wasn’t a hole, it was a different way of being. The whole world had a different tone because of George Bailey’s existence of lack thereof.
That was a movie, and a resonant one. My life is not the movies.
And still, my body and who I am makes a…the opposite of a hole. It is a substance and a force in the fabric of the universe.
Lately there has been little video lectures on the internet telling us to “look up!” “unplug!”
I know that feeling. My whole body and my whole existence gets narrowed down to my headphones and a three-inch screen.
That’s not filling my own hole very well. My body takes up space. My body is the one that give kisses and hugs to my family. My body is the one that aches when I stare too long at that screen.
I have to make room for my body as well as my mind. Whether there is a God-shaped hole in it, I have a heart. It’s a heart that loves and yearns.
It’s a heart that beats. A very practical heart. One that carries oxygen around.
Remember my best friend, my next breath?
It’s important. It’s the next thing on my to do list. The first thing.
I want to remember what I am. I am not merely gray matter. I am all kinds of matter. This stuff that I am matters.
How else would I be missed?