I don’t know where that phrase came from. Was I thinking of ‘arteries of the human heart’, or ‘vagaries of human art’? Just being vague, perhaps.
The heart is a very unpredictable thing, partly because we spend so much of our lives out of touch with it; so that when it manifests itself, this can come as something of a surprise. I sometimes wonder whether my heart has grown a little colder as I’ve grown older. Which is not the same thing as being cold-hearted, as I seem over time to have become more susceptible not less to being moved to tears by dramas and traumas of one kind or another, including my own; and I’m highly sentimental about the children of family and friends my partner and I occasionally spend time with – not having children of our own.
But I feel there’s still a part of me that remains closed off to love: unloved and unloving. Not that I don’t know in my mind that there isn’t any part of me, good or bad, that isn’t infinitely loved by God, as he graciously lets me know in prayer. But still I hold on to, and hold in, some of the bad experiences from my past that continue then to have power over me and drive my actions in the present. I busy and bury myself in my work, which has always been something of a security blanket; although the evidence that this has been a path to material security or personal happiness is far from convincing.
But things are shifting. I was struggling this morning to pay attention to my work. My heart just wasn’t in it, as they say. So instead, I turned to prayer. Maybe the fact that my heart wasn’t in it was telling me something, is the answer I thought I got. Things have got to change. And they will change dramatically only when I open my heart fully to God – which will doubtless mean opening up fully, also, to those I haven’t been honest to for so many years.
Then, perhaps, my heart may not seem such a wasteland, or as the French say, a terrain vague.