• Document

The Broken-Open Heart: Living With Faith and Hope in the Tragic Gap

Parker J. Palmer

"But there is another way to visualize what a broken heart might mean. Imagine that small, clenched fist of a heart “broken open” into largeness of life, into greater capacity to hold one’s own and the world’s pain and joy. This, too, happens every day. We know that heartbreak can become a source of compassion and grace because we have seen it happen with our own eyes as people enlarge their capacity for empathy and their ability to attend to the suffering of others."

A PDF reprint from Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life. March/April 2009.

When our “fight or flight” response is in charge, humility, compassion, forgiveness and the vision of a beloved community do not stand a chance. Learning how to hold life’s tensions in the responsive heart instead of the reactive primitive brain is key to personal, social and cultural creativity. Can suffering become life-giving rather than death dealing?  In this article, Parker shares a path for how heartbreak can become a source of compassion and grace.