An understanding heart with open ears to hear our sorrows
“My heart is restless until it rests in you”, St. Augustine rightly said. He was referring to the lap of laps, the lap of Christ. Those who live the religious experience see that this is particularly true at the high points of life and in the pits of sorrow that are not lacking in the human narrative. What happens in the heights of heaven, also happens in the chores and chores of life, on the plain, and in the day-to-day of personal relationships. Only another human heart calms, soothes, and fills our hearts with joy.
Material things – in their best presentation – give us comfort, and pleasurable goods (food, drink, dizzying entertainment) give us pleasant sensory satisfactions. It is easy, we know, that these goods, enjoyed in excess, end up saturating us and leave bad traces of sadness, hangover, and dissatisfaction. In the right place, in the right measure, these pleasurable goods are part of the beautiful joys which also enliven the soul. From our own experience, we also know that people long for other goods, as expressed in the sincere words of the hostess when she offers us some snacks: “Please help yourselves; it is a small thing, but I have prepared it with love”. Yes, love is the added value that gives fullness and elevates the morsel to the heights of the heart.
We come together to do something in common, to be with each other. It is the body and soul, the whole person, who enjoys the encounter. The human heart feels at ease among friends, family, and loved ones. In this atmosphere of relaxed encounters, drink refreshes the body and lightens the soul; the infusion warms the heart; words sometimes turn into laughter, sometimes into flattery that caresses the soul. Conversely, how unpleasant, when the words scratch or the interlocutors adopt stiff poses. We have been together and, at the same time, how distant from each other. A nice meeting, only when communion comes to the surface and hearts are in tune with each other.
And in bad times, when tribulation and pain come? All the more reason to look for a heart in which to shelter our aching heart. An understanding heart with open ears to listen to our sorrows. Many times, it is enough to be together, sharing silences, words are superfluous. The company is enough. When loved ones are in tune with each other, someone’s sixth sense is activated. In this regard, I think of that scene in the story of Lúthien and Beren in Tolkien’s Silmarillion. Baren is hundreds of miles away from his beloved elf, Lúthien. He has fallen prisoner to Sauron. And just “at the moment when Sauron threw Beren into the pit, an abyss of horror opened in Lúthien’s heart; and when she turned to Melian for counsel, she learned that Beren was without hope of salvation”. It happens in fairy tales, it happens between friends, it happens between parents and children.
Are you alone? Are you travelling alone? Well, yes, but if I’m going to put things in a hurry, I could say that I’m not alone, I’m not really alone. I am accompanied by my loved ones, my friends from heaven. They are not by my side, but they are there. Of course, it is also true that, as soon as the occasion arises, we get together in person, to be joyfully at each other’s side.