Coeur [the heart]


c. 1300, from O.Fr corage, from V.L> *coraticum, from L. cor “heart”, which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. In M.E., used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts”, hence “bravery”, but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness”.

Sometimes we don’t like to travel there. We don’t like to travel into the depths of desire. But “the embers are always there, stirring in our frozen souls like winter leaves.” (Janet Cameron) And so we take a step of courage, we are vulnerable, yet hopeful. So we step onto that piece of glimmering light out ahead of us. We stretch out the to that mirage; to test the air, to see whether it could ever be real, tangible, to see whether we could ever really breathe in such hope. We jettison dignity and walk the tightrope of the dreamer; knowing it is (rebellious, daring, barbaric, thrilling) but also (daunting, dangerous). We hold our breath to consider our options, but must step into our breath’s suspension- where our stomach’s are held knotted in mid air. We might ask ourselves if we are losing our mind, if we are gaining our soul, if there is ever such a place for desire at all.

Instead of seeing with our eyes, we see with our hearts. Instead of surface and shadows,  it is sinews and flesh: raw and visceral. We are ripped, we are torn, we are in process. We hear even louder in heart beats. The heart becomes stronger if it is the heart’s story we choose to hear. We hear the stories of the heart, the stories of courage; the deep pounding of the soul (not the melancholy musings of the mind). We see heart to heart instead of face to face. In this place we try to remain grounded as our heart might skip a beat- being caught in possibility and fragments of hope and joy and love and for a moment the heart stops-

slow dance to this part

– and resumes with an irregular beat.

You prayed a prayer, you wanted to live with your heart. You asked for your soul to be coated, not with an image or a piece of clothing resembling freedom but you asked for your soul to be coated in thick paint. So thick that is could not be removed as a jacket, day by day. But the paint would rest and breath with the beating of your soul. The paint would expand and contract as your lungs lifted cautiously, excitedly in this space of desire and freedom. You cried not for “seems”, but “is”. No stitch, no coat, but a real change of heart. You wanted to posture of your heart to be shifted. Come, take heart. Hold on to hope, take courage again.

March on with courage, my soul. – Judges 5.21b


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