A disciple asks the rebbe: “Why does Torah tell us to place these words upon your hearts? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?” The rebbe answers: “It is because as we are our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in.” — Hasidic Tale.
Parker Palmer says, “heartbreak comes with the territory called being human. When love and trust fail us … our heart breaks and we suffer.” He also says, “violence is what happens when we don’t know what to do with our suffering.” Day after day we see evidence of this truth. Suffering souls do unspeakable acts.
But the wisdom of ages teaches me that loss, whether it be by grief, injustice, or betrayal, can also enlarge our heart. We learn to take on other’s sorrows, not in spite of our loss but because of it. Today I meditate on heartbreak. Tomorrow let us meditate on how we expand our heart so “the holy words fall in.”