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     There are times, when I swear the older I have gotten, the more I  am bewildered by the things. Quite often during my prayer and meditation time, I will ask God “why???” and it seems like He ignores me.  Then…out of the blue….comes a moment of utter clarity.

   On my way home from work today, I was singing a song of worship, and feeling so close to God. The words of the song were touching that tender place in my heart and a couple of tears had slipped down my cheeks. My thoughts were drawn to my father, and how he often told me that I needed to “Stop wearing my heart on my sleeve,” and how that was just totally beyond my capabilities. I recalled a time that I was sitting with my mom and dad at their dining room table, and Dad was trying to relate an incident that he had heard  about of a woman who had changed her life from one of addiction to an intensely spiritual life. In the middle of telling us the story, Dad was overcome by tears and had to stop for a moment to collect himself. That scene always sort of puzzled me because Dad did not know the lady who changed her life. I chalked it up as him being half hungover, which he was most days.

     But I know now. I know why he wept. He wept because he was touched by the intensely beautiful, and holy story of a woman who at rock bottom reached for God and He helped her up.  And that is when my own moment of clarity struck me. When my father was telling me not to “wear my heart on my sleeve,” he wasn’t being mean or embarrassed by my emotions, he was trying to toughen me up, because HE knew intimately what it was like to wear  your heart on your sleeve. Knowing the things that I know now about his family when he was a child, I can see how “toughening up” would be the thing to do to keep  yourself from being hurt.

     I don’t think we recognize traits in others, that we haven’t experienced in ourselves. I wish I had understood this sooner. I have always felt deeply, and I am proud of that. I am not a shallow person. I have hurt for myself and for others MUCHLY during my life, yet along with that hurt, I have known great joy and love. Balanced.

    There is a darkness in me…in all of us, I believe. Only some of us are willing to shove that darkness out and put it in the light. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light….and for THAT I am extremely grateful….