Prescript: This piece is dedicated to Kathy Drake. It was written during the inspiration of her Living Waters Study at The Chapel on the Campus, years ago. Thank you Kathy for your vision, and your love. . .Tracey
Sanctuary of the Heart
There is a beautiful gate. It is two highly arched wrought iron doors that swing to the inside. The doors are ornately welded with delicate swirls and hidden hearts patterned into the outward appearance. The welding is so closely done that one can only see dimly through them. The doors show their age and hang very heavy on their hinges. There is a lock on the gate. A steadfast lock that cannot be teased open. There is no rust on the hinges, and despite the weight of the doors, they swing easily open with the righteous key.
Step into a precious garden. The air holds the richness of a fall evening. A chill is moving inside the walls as the sun begins to set. Old brick, warm with soft reds and pinks make up the protective walls of the garden. One wall has a hidden window. A tender flower vine grows over its place in the wall. Shutters close it from the outside world. Open the paint peeling shutters to reveal stained and hand leaded glass shimmering in light from the Son. There is a quiet angel sitting on the opposite wall. She swings her legs to a silent melody. Her head is tilted as if to catch some faint sound from above. A small fountain in the corner nourishes a bluebird with living water. You hear a faint wash of water, running over roughly hewn stones in the fountain. The water is smoothing over the sharp edges to create a new, kinder shape.
Flowers bloom abundantly in every palate of color. Intensity flourishes in small patches where they are not taken over by the larger, more assertive vines. You bend to touch the delicate blush of purple on the violet’s petals. A painted lady butterfly brushes your hand as it lands to unfurl its long tongue and sip the sweet nectar. The butterfly pauses but a moment before it lifts its delicate body to move to another blossom. You are caught in the presence of its delicate beauty. A large Lady Banks Rose vine towers over a swing in the center of the garden. The swing sways in the breeze, waiting. There is a familiar aroma. Vanilla, warmed and melting, like honey seeping into every corner of your mind, body and soul. Radiate roses bud year round, giving the sweet fragrance of grace floating in the air.
You follow the worn path to the swing. You feel the balm of coming rain. The moisture touches your skin. You want to soak in the moment. You sit quietly, so as not to disturb the mother dove nesting in the branches of the aged vine spreading out above the swing. Its branches are thick with seasons of growth. The light filters in broken rays from the tree towering over much of the side wall. You feel a tender warmth settle over your soul. The curve of the swing fits your back in perfect comfort. The paint shows signs of wear near the seat and arm rests. You swing for a long time. It seems like a long time, but truly you are unsure of the passing time. In this place, time stands still.
The gate swings open and in walks Christ. You hear the gentle rush of the wind as He commands it to tickle the leaves on the branches bent from holding for so long. An unseen windchime strikes note , singing in His breeze. You listen to His footsteps approaching as he walks through a bed of pink and purple violets. You can smell the fragrance of the crushed petals as He steps closer to the center of the garden. You know the sweet perfume to be forgiveness. Christ picks up some moss and places it in the mother dove’s nest. The dove makes no move as His hand tenderly strokes her head. The air around you tingles with life. He bends to sit next to you on the swing. For a measure, you forget everything except His nearness. You lose yourself. You make no move to even take a breath. He speaks quietly to you. Your heart responds in ways that have no words. He is the air you breathe. He is the sweet aroma that permeates every pore. He is the dampness on your skin. He is the water smoothing over the fountain stones and nourishing the bluebird. He has the delicacy of the violet and the strength of the vine. His light shines beyond the sun. His presence drenches you. He extends His hand. He opens one palm. You reach out with one finger to touch the scar. His hand lifts your face. There is a quick sweep of unworthiness that brushes past your brow. Then, His eyes meet yours. You know the completion of His love. His other palm opens to reveal another gift . He holds your key. He releases the key to your hold. You understand the choice of free will. The moment holds; Then you feel your heart’s release and place your key with the Locksmith of your dreams.
His fingers embrace the shape of your love. You can see the full span held within His grasp. Then, the place next to you is open again. You feel the soft flutter of wings across your check and see a dove fly up into the heavens. You notice, there is no sound to its flight. Across your lap, humbly draped, is a counterpane of consecration. You feel His warmth surrounding you. You nuzzle its blanketed softness. Slowly, you smell the essence of His closeness. You notice a slightly damp feel to the patch of material within your embrace. Your own tears pour, unnoticed, onto the piercings of the needle made to secure circles of love. You know Christ in each stitch and piece sewn together to make you whole.
You hold in the warmth as the light greets the horizon at the end of the day. You watch as the colors brush the sky with peaceful pinks, yellows, oranges, and lavenders. The day’s finale, lasts but a few minutes. Your mind wants to capture the vision. On the vine screening the window, a large single floret opens into the evening air to reveal a magnificent moonflower. Full of face, in the silver light, its white petals shimmer in reflection. Your heart will not find the measure of the moment the same again. Your spirit stirred into a new world. You swing and hear the sweet song of the bluebird perched in a distant tree. It sings a new song. A lullaby of joy. You cover your shoulders with the comforter of His presence and you slowly fall asleep in peace. Tracey Warren Elofson