Wondering Wednesdays – living with a heart close to cracking



“Living with a heart close to cracking” is a phrase which really resonates with me at the moment. It was shared at the Birmingham Diocesan Conference by David Runcorn, a former colleague at St John’s, and is from the theologian James Allison. However, I have no idea if I am using it in the way he does and I could imagine he might talk about it in relation to the church!

I only got to spend 24 hours at the conference but what I heard was so powerful and moving.  On Monday Sister Frances Dominica who set up Helen and Douglas House Hospice told her story.  The amazing generous hospitality available to children, young people and young adults who are dying along with their families is inspirational.  One of the doctors even bought a penguin to the hospice for one young person whose last wish that was.  Then Tuesday morning David Runcorn shared from the Lectionary about grace as hospitality which included loving our enemies, grace as spaciousness based on the root of one of the Hebrew words used for salvation, loving ourselves so we can love others and stories of forgiveness and hope.  If the church was more like the gospel…  Then before I left Loretta Minghella, the Director of Christian Aid, told her story and talked about grace and justice and challenged us with the thought that ‘life is too short to wait to be the person you want to be’ and ‘if you do not raise your voice how do people know that you care’ amongst lots of other gems.

Living with a heart close to cracking is not an easy place to be sometimes.  The only way I can manage it sometimes is through companionship – literally people we share bread with – being part of a community that cares and is passionate about similar things; through asking God to show me what I should be doing – what my role in the bigger picture might be – getting burnt out will not help; through self care so that I do have the spiritual and emotional capacity to take on those things I believe God is calling me to be involved in.  Twenty four hours away but days and weeks worth of thoughts and insights I need to let permeate my heart, soul and mind…



6 thoughts on “Wondering Wednesdays – living with a heart close to cracking

  1. The title of this resonates with me so much. I don’t know if I am interprating it at all in the right way, but for me it is how my heart currently feels at times. The heart that longs to be involved in ministry but is stuck in place (mainly a dark bedroom) with practically no contact with the outside world, and hardly any spiritual support. A heart which feels so broken and as if it can’t take any more.

    It is also something i can relate to so much both through my time as a patient at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and then as a volunteer there, along with my Nans journey with cancer and Mummy’s time in a hospice. Having become practical suicidal from the way I was treated at a general hospital, where to them I was simply an illness, to being at a hospital where I was treated as a young person, was amazing. The extra miles the staff went is too big to sum up in words; simple things like being given a birthday present; being able to choose anything I wanted to eat-not from a menu (only on my birthday!) and dj at the hospital radio station all meant so much to me. I felt valued and cared for as an individual. The water fights with syringes are something that stick out in my mind as were the late night films I watched with the night staff! They let me be a young person;came to my bed when I was too ill to get up; were simply there for me. Working there I saw things from a different pespective but the fundimental values of love were the same.

    I remember seeing my Mums heart so close to cracking when my Nan was diagnosed with cancer, but the way God gave spiritual healing to all the family was incredible. By the time Nanny died it was somehow ‘right’, even though by then Mummy was terminally ill. With Mummy, it was wonderful to see the care in our local hospice. The extra things like animal therapy; music therapy; time to talk; to be lissened to and just to be. Despite all they had to do, they somehow seemed to make time to get to know each patient. The welcome to the family was so important too. Although Mummy choose to die at home, those few weeks were such an impotant time of preparation..gently healing our hearts as much as God could.

    For me, your last paragraph sums it up. I agree, that the only way to live with a heart close to cracking is through companionship. I think of each of the times I have mentioned, and so many more (many that you will be aware of) and the only way I got through those times was through the love and support of others, be they Christian or not. I think of my time with MCYM; all the trauma I went through, including a year full of illness… it was being part of a community that genuinuly cared and was passionate about similar things, who got me through that time and helped shape my heart into a better place. I have so much to thank you and the students in my year for. Whilst I think anyone would struggle with suddenly becoming phsyically ill; unable to walk; having to spend most of their time resting etc, I have no doubt that it is my current lack of Christian community which is leading me to struggle so much. Paul bending down and talking to me at Terry’s funeral brought tears to my eyes, as did it when a minister asked to pray for me at Christmas. Both acts were the most spiritual support I have had in the last 4yrs. This blog has come at a very important time for me and I can only appologise if I write too much…please tell me! I need to ask God to show me what I should be doing – what my role in the bigger picture might be – but I need help in that.

    Thank you to my faithful friends who haven’t given up on me when so many would have…without you maybe my heart would have cracked.

    Lucy xx

    • Hi Lucy The thing I like about metaphorical language is that you can take it anyway you like! I am not sure I have done justice to original meaning which is not the best academic practice! I did think Street Pastors was a great idea and did wonder if there were any helplines or similar that you might be able to be a part of or if there is any online Christian community that works – someone told me about a church on second life but don’t really know much about it… Do you say a daily office – I wonder if that could be helpful connecting with a dispersed community such as Northumbria or Aidan and Hilda – they both have a process of exploration which you may find helpful….

  2. Wow. Profound. ‘Waiting to be the person you want to be’, sounds so sad. Perhaps one antidote, is Listening to friends who tell you who you really are. Must do it sometime!
    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2
    From: Marker Posts and Shelters
    Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 08:58:59 +0000
    ReplyTo: Marker Posts and Shelters
    Subject: [New post] Wondering Wednesdays – living with a heart close to cracking

    Sally and Paul Nash posted: ” “Living with a heart close to cracking” is a phrase which really resonates with me at the moment. It was shared at the Birmingham Diocesan Conference by David Runcorn, a former colleague at St John’s, and is from the theologian James Allison”

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