A Clean Heart (and the Cone of Shame)

Once upon a time, I had a little cat and a little dog.  They were sworn enemies.  One day the little dog gave chase to the little cat and caught her.  Little dog created two tiny punctures in the little cat’s side.  We washed them and treated them with antibiotic.  They scabbed over and nearly healed, but they must have begun to itch.  Little cat ripped off the scabs and the little holes became a little bigger.

We cleaned them again and they began to heal.  They were looking great when little cat once again ripped the scabs off and the holes became even larger.  This happened once again, and the two holes became one large gaping wound.  There was still no infection, but it was a scary looking wound.  We took little cat to the vet and he said that he couldn’t stitch it because the risk of infection would be too great.  Instead, he fitted her with the cone of shame.


The cone of shame worked its trick.  She stopped picking at her wound, and the wound got smaller and smaller until it healed once and for all.

Yesterday I spent a lot of mental energy dwelling on something someone said to someone else that wasn’t even directed at me. My child brought home an illustration from class that I thought was inappropriate.  I posted it on Facebook and garnered support from my friends and began to feel self-righteous.  I presented my point of view in an email to the person who originated the distasteful example and went to my “zen den” to try to let it go.

The joy of sitting in a darkened room lit only by candles, listening to soft sounds and wrapped in the warm embrace of a soft blanket is that in the stillness, God can speak to our busy minds.  Last night I had such an experience.  As I watched the thoughts drift in and out of my mind, a bit of scripture turned into song came into view and stayed long enough to stick.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.

-Psalm 51:10

I did not dwell on that thought last night, but the subtle experience made its impression.  My husband came to find me and we watched some television together and slept peacefully.

This morning I received an email in reply to my message.  The person who used the example that upset me failed to understand where I was coming from.  The peace I had found in my private sanctuary last night dissolved, and I experienced, once again, the sting of perceived rejection.

I got ready for work, leashed Jimi the Wonderdog and drove to the office.  My office is in disarray right now.  I’ve been trying to fit too many things into too little time while worrying about too many things.  I realized that no meaningful work could happen until I took care of the piles and restored proper order.

As I tidied piles and washed dirty mugs, the psalm/song came back into my mind.  Sometimes we need to take a moment to clean our heart so that we can get back to work, too.  Holding onto resentment allows us to go back to it time after time, picking and picking until the wound becomes larger and larger.   I asked God for help to forgive and forget and to renew a spirit of tolerance, kindness and forgiveness within my heart.

 I really don’t want to wear the Cone of Shame.

Love and Light,


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