Donna Smaldone
Connect with me: Join me on Facebook Follow me on Twitter Watch my videos on YouTube Connect with me on LinkedIn Subscribe to my RSS Feed

Wednesday / March 02 / 2016

Heart behind bars

"Heart behind bars" photo by Donna Smaldone
“Heart behind bars” photo by Donna Smaldone

The sound of the cell door thundering shut is emotionally debilitating. You crumple to the scuffed floor, weeping. You imagine the many who’ve been here before you, trying desperately to slog through the pain. Your abs clench, your insides knot together and you struggle to make sense of it all. How did this happen? How did you get here?

Summoning the morsel of strength you need to rise to your feet, you grasp the cell bars like a crutch. You peer down the ceaseless hallway, seeing empty cell after empty cell. “Helloooo?” No one is there but you. No prisoners, no guards. Just you.

The truth of imprisonment courses through your senses and your hands drop inertly to your sides. Everything you ever hoped for seems to flush from your brain, through your heart, your gut, your soul. Seeping out through the soles of your feet into the unforgiving, cracked cement floor.

Just before hopelessness takes anchor, you notice a melodic jangling and feel cold steel beneath your fingers. It’s a key. The key to your cell door. You have it. You’ve had it all along. “I have it?,” you ask incredulously, hoping for confirmation.

Shaken by the clarity of your new awareness, you plop onto the small metal bench affixed to the wall and stare at your feet. You wonder why you’ve chosen to stay here. Why you’ve chosen to imprison yourself with this thing (guilt, fear, shame, bitterness, a bad decision, indecision, a mistake, a misunderstanding, unforgiveness, hurt feelings, pain, loss, sadness, tragedy).

Certainly, there’s a tangible sense of comfort and safety being locked away from the world. But, can you live here? Do you want to live here? It’s a mistake to think you can make this thing go away by imprisoning yourself. That’s simply torture, self-punishment and wasted time.

The choice is yours and you know it. Moving your feet in and out, you relish the calming distraction of the scuffling sound. The cement canvas now seemingly fortified with absolution.

Sunlight? Where is that coming from?

Until now, you hadn’t noticed the small window broadcasting blue skies and kindergartener-perfect white clouds. “How long have you been there?,” you smile at the ridiculousness of your own rhetorical question, grateful for the companionship of humor. The sunshine blankets your face and you realize you’re not alone after all. You feel the weight of love on your chest, in your chest. Inexplicably warm and profound.

“You are my strength, my desire, my perception of love. You are the biggest fan of my flawed, imperfect self.

When asked, “Who do you love more than anything?”, I answer, “You!!” You are my love, my life, my creator, my God. I stray. I wander. Yet, you remain steadfast, always present. Loving me without condition. 

Please speak to my inner most stubborn child and my softest, most vulnerable being. I pledge to listen. Help me navigate life purposefully, with your input.

I bring you Me. It’s all I have. It’s all you’ve ever asked for, politely, kindly, with love, grace and humor. Thank you.”

If you’re reading this, you don’t have all the answers to life. You never will. You’re not intended to. What you DO have is the key to liberate yourself from any self-imposed bars that have held you captive.

Blue skies and sunshine are always there. Even on the darkest, most stormy days. If you hop on a plane and fly above the daunting clouds, you will see them. Every single time. Even today. God put them there for you.

Take notice of how much bigger the windshield is than the rearview mirror. The rearview mirror is there to remind you that all the experiences you’ve enjoyed and endured make you who you are today. The windshield is there to show you the amazing future that lies in wait. Appreciate them both and spend more time with the windshield.

I pray you find the courage to use your key without wasting one more day. You are loved unconditionally by the God, who adoringly created you… on purpose and with purpose.

8 responses to “Heart behind bars”

  1. Gordon Woodworth says:

    Wow. Powerful and wonderful. Just like you. Brilliant prose, dear Donna. Love it. Love you.

  2. Deb Holton-Smith says:

    INSPIRING!!!!!!!! We all have the key….so let’s not waste another moment!
    God’s purpose Jeremiah 29:11

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, my beautiful sistah. We all DO have the key and it’s worth reminding each other. Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite Bible verse since I was a young teenager….. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s so humbling to be loved by One who is so unblemished and loves so unconditionally. Love you, Deb!

      Love, Donna

  3. Julie says:

    Beautiful! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Jules. Please share with anyone who needs to be reminded they hold the key. You’re a gem.

      Love, Donna

  4. Kim says:

    So much love… Brought me to tears. Thank you, Lord for loving me always… Especially when I cannot seem to love myself.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Brought me to tears, writing it. It’s overwhelming the love our God bestows upon us. He designed you so beautifully, Kimmer and I am grateful to have known you my whole life.

      Love, Donna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *