November 14

Dry Clay and Old Scars

November 14, 2012

Stress Management

A couple of months ago I was using a post-hole digger to create a cylindrical hole in the ground of our backyard for pouring a concrete pillar. In this part of Georgia, the "soil" is little but solid, relatively homogeneous clay, and because we had received many inches of rain over the previous couple of weeks, I found exactly what I expected as I began to dig. After the first inch or so of topsoil and leaves, I was digging in wet, sticky clay, much as you might use to create clay pots on a potter's wheel.

Wet clay is so sticky that you frequently have to scrape it off the shovel or other tool used to dig it, but I continued my work. When the hole reached about a foot in depth, the mud suddenly disappeared and was replaced by a clay surface so hard and compact that the blades of the post-hole digger bounced off it, as though it were stone. If I drove the digger downward with all my energy, however, I could penetrate the surface—maybe an eighth of an inch with each blow—and the clay I chiseled out was in the form of a fine, dry powder, much like flour.

What happened here? Once the clay dried during the summer, it became so dense that despite repeated downpours, the rain of the previous weeks mostly ran off the compacted surface and flowed into a network of drainage ditches that eventually emptied into the creek in the backyard.

With each rain, however, some small portion of the water did penetrate the hard clay and turned it into a soft, mushy, goo. Over time, the water found microscopic opportunities to seep even deeper, to the point that it had reached a depth of one foot at the time I began digging.

We each have a heart—our soul, our emotional makeup—that has a unique density. For some of us the surface is soft and porous, so when we encounter Real Love, it easily penetrates and heals our wounds. The hearts of others are much harder, as though covered by layers of scars, so that Real Love softens and heals more slowly.

If we can remember that we're all different in our ability to soak up the love available to us, we'll experience less impatience, irritation, and guilt.

PCSD

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