I found a padlock hanging on a branch in the woods today. It was a rusty little padlock, shaped like a heart. It seemed so out of place, yet looked like it belonged right there. Rust had eaten most of it, matching its colours to the trees surrounding it. It looked peaceful.
If that padlock was an actual heart, it would be hundreds of years old by now. My aged soul would have the key to it and I would want to unlock it.
I felt sorry for that padlock. I wanted to save it. I wanted to save it from freezing, from the darkness, from more rust. I wanted to unlock it, remove it from that branch and end its loneliness. I wanted to warm it in my hands and slip it into the softness of my pocket. That sweet little padlock. It looked like a hero in my eyes. Facing the seasons under the sky, with nothing to protect it.
How silly of me… to feel sorry for a padlock… It’s what I’ve been doing all my life. Feeling sorry for everything and everyone. Helping people. Saving people. Maybe the padlock is my heart. My own little hero. Always there, always available. Getting a little rustier with each passing year and with it, becoming harder to open. Even if someone held the right key, they would have to try a few times for the lock to give in.
How silly of me… to feel sorry for my heart… I’m sorry its lock has been used so much - clicking open, then snapping closed again. It must be painful. Then there are all the things it has to keep inside. My heart is becoming heavier with each passing year too. It’s how I protect others. I keep their secrets safe. I carry their pain and make their hearts lighter. Still, it’s worth it.
My grandmother knew this. Even when I was just a little girl, she always used to say, “There is a beautiful thing inside you that is hundreds of years old. It’s your heart, my dear.” She knew I had an old soul. She knew I had a bigger heart than most people. She also knew I was destined for more joy and sorrow than most people.
My grandmother was with me on my walk in the woods today. On my way home, I felt her tiny, warm hands cup my heart. She held it for a while, making it lighter for me to carry.