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Essay on Matters of the Heart

When a heart hardens, rather than becoming stronger, as most would imagine, it grows brittle. With a lack of lifeblood and fluid feeling, it dries out, becoming a crumpled wreck of a solid, instead of the mysterious half state most humans exist in. For you see, the heart is more than the lord of the body, sending cells to the far corners of fingertips to do his bidding. The heart is the throne of human emotion, where the invisible soul bides its time. A truly hardened heart has been abandoned by the will to live- not the means.

Thus, hardened is the wrong word, though it is accepted in the common vernacular. Weakened is a better picture, perhaps even stunted is acceptable. Regardless of how it is referred to, and despite how romanticized it has become, it is not desirable. Many have followed this quest for a half life, eager to make themselves invincible to the traps set by life, taking no damage. It is true that a heart without feeling cannot be pierced by any pain or sting, but neither can it be lifted with the fragile wings of hope and lifted to any safe haven above the torrents of life. Such an existence is not worth the protection it lends itself to.

It is often said in jest that the only way to ensure that your belongings remain yours alone is to make them so hideous, none other would wand them. That is the philosophy that those with shriveled, deformed hearts hold dear, their last anchor in a distant abyss. The anchor, at least, holds. Who, after all, would want possession of such a thing? For that is all that those who shatter souls are truly after. The satisfying shatter of ownership is a beautiful thing, self-destruction a joy. Perhaps their own selves are so desecrated they feel no one deserves they joy that they have lost.

There is, however, an important distinction to be made between those who have destroyed their heart and those who build walls. Similar to a man who knows not what he does as he makes remarks that twist secret souls into painful knots, those who build walls ruin themselves. A plant, when contained will grow to fit its container, just so a heart will reach the extremities, and conform to its prison. When shackled, it grows 'round the bonds, internalizing them and believing that the cold bits of steel and stone that so hinder it existed throughout its existence. There is no torture more exquisite and paralyzing than an internalized imprisonment.

Despite all privations and maltreatment, though, hope will spring eternal in the heart. A heart left to grow unmolested by workaday worries will flourish. It will expand beyond the visible confines of the ribcage, the sternum, chest, skin, to shine out as a beacon to others. Let it. Don't allow yourself to pin down your own consciousness. Don't chide it, don't fear it. Breathe it, live it, and love it with all you have. If you truly respect and cherish your heart, your life will never be barren. Nurture your heart. The results are worth the world, let alone the work.

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