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BREATHING ROOM: Working from our heart to our hands

BREATHING ROOM: Working from our heart to our hands

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Winter is a humbling time. Drawing into long darkness, by hearths and fires, into our interior spaces, there is time for reflection. Self-assessment, inner investigation, strengthening of loose connections, we have the space. It is a time of stark shadows cast by the gentle flicker of candle-light. Warming stones banked by the fire retain and diffuse the heat.

Then comes spring. Equinox. Equal. When, at long last, balance comes between light and dark hours. We moderns counterbalance those hours with our agrarian, anchored practice of saving daylight hours to extend our “time” for working the land, tending the growing seeds, measuring out what and when to plant.

Balance. Springtime reminds us that it is best to work out our stories, our pain and our hope with our hands. Planting seeds, pulling weeds, pushing our fingertips into deep, gentle earth.

Working out our stories with our hands makes it possible to move ourselves out of our heads and into our bodies, into the Body. This is why service to others and to the world is so important. This is why Jesus touches the sick to heal them. This is why he breaks bread and fish with his hands to feed the hungry. This is why he invites us to hold the hands of others as we walk through darkest valleys.

We move from hands to hearts. God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah to a people living in a time of imbalance, long shadows and deep pain. A reminder comes about the time in which God had taken the people by hand and led them out of shadows into new promises: a promised land, a promised life, a new way, a new covenant.

But it does not take long for humans to cycle back into the shadows, for us not to release our pain well and in balance. We break promises. So it is that in a small passage of Holy text — Jeremiah 31:31-34 — that the Divine Source lays out a vision for moving promises from our hands, out of our minds, into our hearts.

Heart to heart, a new balancing, a new covenant, with no concern for overshadowing or shattering. For the work of the Holy One is everlasting, and the work of the heart extends into all of creation. The Holy One restores the balance to all creatures and makes all things new.

Longing to breathe deeply and to walk with others as they seek to meet their longings, C. A. Rollins writes and invites you to reflect with her at

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