Breaking the Lock

And yes it is necessary to admit
walking in the forest
the heart is a lock

it has inviolable chambers
like the woods, fallen trees
that block

access to the river
snowdrops surprising its edges
moss crystalline with frost

What I thought I wanted what I have tried to be
was the slender instrument that opened

a key: presence moving deeper into the forest
that releases the birds from the trees
and sends them   ascends them
to sky   by definition

but now there is nothing left to be solved like a riddle

this time the lock must be broken
what’s left has to be seized

because God only loves the strong thief
I mean the man who breaks his heart for God
~Jennifer Grotz, “Locked” from Window Left Open

All my life I wanted to be an effective key, unlocking life’s mysteries and opening up the world to those who are hopeless, stifled and trapped. Doctor training gave me a few locksmith tools. I found my patients taught me far more about their pain and suffering than my professors did.

Yet profound mysteries remain: some illnesses are rare or unique enough to defy diagnosis, some just don’t respond to available tools, while illnesses as well understood and treatable as depression or COVID infection still kill and incapacitate with abandon. The keys I may have accumulated don’t fit every lock. They don’t necessarily open the doors to freedom from fear or worry.

At times I feel aimless, wondering what tools I still have and if I remember how to use them. Simple knowledge is only one key, while brute force – breaking and entering – may be necessary to break the hardest lock of all – access to the troubled heart and soul.

God wants in, to pick up our broken pieces and put us back together. He doesn’t need a key to enter what He Himself has built from scratch. He owns the place.


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