"Narrow is the mansion of my heart."
So said St. Augustine.
"Enlarge Thou it..."
I read on in his surprisingly relevant, though ancient autobiography, The Confessions of Saint Augustine.
If this house of my heart were any smaller, it would hold no air to sustain me. Suffocating, I grasp and clutch and crave things, beauty, possessions, that make it a cluttered, selfish, little hovel.
This small space.
"Enlarge Thou it, that Thou mayest enter in," he writes on.
My own stunted heart teeters on arrest when the notion of generosity comes knocking. This strange guest at my door, uninvited.
Do I let this newcomer in? Do I allow altruism in to remove the piles of hoarded trash that make it hard to move around, to live, let alone give as I was intended to give?
Sweaty palms unlatch the lock and slowly let the breeze of benevolence move the stale air of a closed, windows-shut-tight, curtains drawn, dark abode.
Then something unusual happens. The pent up air stirs, flows, then escapes as if from a vacuum-packed can, this windowless solitary confinement prison cell.
My arteries, clogged with discontent and greed, on the brink of failure, plagued with chronic arrythmia, might benefit from the defibrillation of giving.
Blinding light accompanies this uncommon guest. I rush to clean the newly revealed dust and move the messes into already bursting closets, no where to hide it all. Exposed. Ashamed. I shrink to the size of my surroundings until I am spent, small, and overcome by the utter despair of stuff.
The saving of my self-centered, withered soul is to give. Open handed, what I have, little as it may be. Not just tangible gifts, like change to the beggar or coffee to a friend. But forgiveness to a relative, and mercy to my teenager, the benefit of a doubt to my husband.
So renovate this dwelling place of my life-source. Add a room or two. Not to fill with more purses or sets of dishes,
But. To. Fill. With. You. Great, Generous God.
And dazzle me with the heart-flipping joy that comes with seeing the smile of a homeless person. Let me sense the long overdue relief of a friendship restored.
Enlarge my heart, to make room for all You are and want to be in me.
And maybe someday my cardboard shack-of-a-heart might make it into an issue of heaven's House Beautiful magazine...