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I pray...that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope to which He has called you!

Ephesians 1:18


When my hubby Rey and I were newly married, we found ourselves living in the south of France. Rey had been recruited to play semi-pro basketball in the quaint little town of "Valence sŭr Bäise", just 90 kilometers from the Pyrenees Mountains and the border of Spain.

As one might expect, there were innumerable adjustments to be made in a culture quite different from our own. The first and most prominent was getting used to the seven-hour time-zone change. But it was not just our internal clocks that needed tweaking; our taste buds had to learn to acclimate as well. Being typical American's, we were accustomed to eating hamburger, but not to eating it raw, it's a delicacy the French call "steak haché". It was an entre our palates never did come to appreciate, although we did grow to love much of French cuisine!

One seemingly inconsequential adjustment we had to make was getting used to living in a house that had shuttered windows without screens. If we wanted to enjoy some fresh air, we would have to unlatch the windows, pull them inward, then, throw open the shutters outward. Once we did this, however, it wouldn't take long before we were sharing our living space with a variety of flying bugs! I can't tell you how many bumble bees took a little detour through my kitchen each day!

At night, after I'd pull the shutters closed and turn the lights off, the room would be drowned in utter darkness. This posed quite a challenge for us, for we endured our share of stubbed toes as we stumbled around in the dark. We also found ourselves sleeping until noon and figured that "dragging around in a fog" feeling was simply due to jetlag. But when we continued waking at 11 a.m. for another week or two, we realized that with the shutters closed, we never knew when the sun had risen. The crazy shutters even muffled most of the sounds out on the street!

Shutters remind me of the human heart. When we crack them open to new experiences or new friendships, it makes us vulnerable. Being vulnerable exposes us to the possibility of getting hurt from time to time...like getting stung by an occasional misguided bee!!

If, to avoid experiencing this kind of pain, we choose to keep the shutters of our hearts closed, we also run the risk of muffling the sound of our Savior's sweet voice. Without His light shining into our hearts, we end up groggily stumbling through life with far too many stubbed toes and never experiencing our spirits fully awakened, as they were meant to be!

Fortunately, Rey and I eventually learned how to recognize little signals that the day had indeed dawned outside our shutter-darkened room. Around the corner from our house was a little "boulangerie" (French for "bakery"). When my nose would catch the first scent of freshly baking baguettes in the morning, I would leap out of bed and throw open the shutters to allow the aroma to swirl in and around me. As I did this, the warmth of the sun would also flood our room with its light. Familiar sounds from down at the corner weigh station would then break through the silence. And this, you must understand, was no ordinary weigh station, for the local farmers often brought their cattle to be weighed, and we were regularly serenaded by a choir of "moos"!! What joy awaited me each and every day when I swung open those shutters; I can't imagine all that I would have missed if I had chosen to keep them closed for fear of what might fly my way!

Lord, I throw open the shutters of my heart to You today. Please do not let me miss a single thing that You have in store for me!

Woman, Why Are You Weeping?


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