Over the past–days, months, years–I have felt my heart ripen. Some days, the process was gentle. The sweet rain of shared time with friends. The gentle morning sun of self-exploration.
But other times, the process was harsh. There were days when the rain was torrential. When the sun was too hot, and there was no shade to be found. And my heart moved from comfortably ripe, to bruised and soft.
That was the state of my heart when I went to a conference this past weekend. I felt wounded, and I was determined that I was not going to talk to new people. Heck, I wasn’t even going to LIKE new people. I wasn’t going to feel, I was only going to think. I was going to be closed off, and I was going to fiercely protect my over-ripe heart.
But my plan was not the right plan. At every turn, I was engaged in conversations about life and faith and story-telling. And I saw the art of telling stories in a completely new light. I saw it as a unique gifting. A calling to reveal the hidden things of the Father that only I can reveal.*
And all through the weekend, little pieces of grace sliced into my soul.
Quotes, ideas, thoughts, pierced the already bursting flesh of my heart.
They cut through the bruised, soft fruit, until it all fell away.
And all that was left was that seed in the middle. Wrinkled and hard and beautiful.
In that fertile ground of my story, the seed was replanted. To grow and stretch toward the sun. To produce new fruit. Until it is time for the harvest.
Because in the final analysis, all moments are key moments.
And life itself is grace.*
*I didn’t do a great job of noting sources of the incredible ideas I heard at this conference. I believe the first noted idea is from Andrew Peterson. The second is definitely Frederick Buechner.