Cleaning house…

The house of the heart.  Good to keep it tidy.  While excavating my office last week, i stumbled upon an ancient e-mail from my dear friend Yoda.  As i perform inventory on my soul, this was timely…

So much held in a heart in a lifetime.  So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment.  We are utterly open with no one, in the end—not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend.  We open windows to each but we live alone in the  house of the heart. 

Perhaps we must.  Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart.  When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and  rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. 

You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words “I have something to tell you,” a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children*. 

i am becoming more than comfortable with my future as a solo act.  A life lived fully, punctuated by remarkable friends, my smart and fabulous children, delicious lovers and even assorted members of my family – if only for comic relief!  Keeping collateral damage to others at the bare minimum.  There will be heartbreak and joy, delight and disappointment. 

What is a roller-coaster without ups and downs?  A commuter train… and nothing more.

Time to clean the “house of the heart”.  Fix up the guest rooms, set an inviting table – but make myself comfortable with a good book, a bottle of wine… and the demons in my head.


* Best American Essays, 2005, page 28, Brian Doyle, Joyas Valadoras. 

23 thoughts on “Cleaning house…

  1. That is one beautiful essay. I was amazed to read it an feel it touching everying in my soul. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’m crying in a Marriott. Thanks. Love the commuter train thing though. Needs to be on a t-shirt or something.

  3. MiddleSis – always glad when you stop by. it is, indeed, quite an essay…

    silverstar – been putting up a lot of ‘toss off’ stuff lately (just too busy to think much). this one? that’s a bit of thinkin’…

    renalfailure – in my imaginary world, it’s The Bride and i. along with Mary Louise Parker. painting each others toenails, talking about boys and sharpening steel…

    unbearable banishment – i don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no Buddhist stuff… so terrified of being trapped or bogged down with bullshit that i waste time when i could be living hard… forces me to get comfortable and move on.

    jimmy bastard – thank you. will look for ‘more’. i think it’s under the bed… or maybe behind the sofa…

    nursemyra – you are welcome in the house of my heart. in fact, you have your own room… xx

    mstng – sorry for the tears. you’re just fucking hormonal i think…. the ‘train’/’rollercoaster’ thing just popped. and i wasn’t even liquored up this time!

    archie – i’m starting to find comfort in my emo-demons. there has to be consistency in life somewhere… and mine is in the form of demons. They ain’t going anywhere. Might as well get to know them… A life without demons might be a little boring.

  4. very nice…I hope when I hit your age in a few years that I too will have reached such a state of being.
    Hubby has that I must look for it to read more.

  5. Love the commuter train metaphor. Very nice.

    I’m not where you are yet in my single-life development, but it’s a nice thought and maybe I’ll get there too. Thanks for writing this.

  6. uncle keith – yeah, and he also called in the middle of the night after reading this and woke my ass up… yoda needs a fucking watch. but other than that? he is a bit of alright!

    hisqueen – it’s a ‘for now’ state of being. suspect there’ll be more dark days ahead, but for the most part, i’m good…

    amber – was thinking of you after i wrote this. somehow, i don’t think you’re as cynical, bitter and broken as i am in this regard – which is probably why you’re not there… i’m not sure it’s the right place for everyone flying solo… just seems to work for me at the moment.

  7. The only way to know that you will be alone forever is to make that choice today and every day. If you are open to any possibility, anything can happen. You are lovable. Don’t be afraid.

  8. Very profound essay. Thank you for posting that excerpt.

    Very profound analogy too. I daresay I’ve never seen a “life plan” so simple and succinct.

  9. I’ve been reading your site for a while now, and I always enjoy when you write about your life, but that essay nearly knocked the wind out of me. Thank you for posting it. I think I’ll go cry my eyes out now.

  10. nicole – Welcome and thank you! as long as the demons aren’t making me miseerable, getting in my way, or eating my chocolate and drinking my booze? i can cohabitate. just need to make sure they know who’s boss!

    squirrel queen – thanks… just like gas, this one felt better out than in…

    recreational blasphemy – Welcome to the Park! It’s not so much that i’m conceding to living a life alone, i’m just not going to mourn something that ISN’T in my life, when there’s quite a lot IN my life that is worthwhile… to know me is to run from me, by the way… it’s only a matter of time. not afraid of it, just being practical…

    DP – normal? you know something about normal? since when? to follow the lead of Vonnegut, us humans just spend far too much time exercising our overly-large brains. less thinkin’ would probably be a good thing…

    rob – thank you. i’m not sure it’s really a ‘plan’, though… it’s just me accepting a statistically probable outcome and not wasting time worrying about what ISN’T, and getting the most out of what IS.

    madcap – Welcome to The Park! The first time i read that essay, i remeber staring at my computer screen for a full 30 minutes – immobilized. Odd how words can do that… Thank you very much for stopping by! and i hope it didn’t make you cry too hard…

  11. maybe thats just it in a nutshell i am cleaning out the empty places in my heart.. if so that should make room for the new residents to come along and take refuge there… this was a very insight filled post….

  12. Pingback: Deep thoughts | Autumn People

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