GUEST COLUMN • Diane’s ‘Open Hearts’ Walnut Walk

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Nature has a way of speaking volumes–if we will only listen.  And nature also has a way of opening our eyes to some truths that we might not have been able to express on our own.  That is exactly what happened when Diane heard nature speaking as she was walking her dog, Dolly.  

It was a walnut–not something that most of us would consider a gift of nature.  Except, this walnut had been cut in two, right down the middle, exposing its most inward parts. Your guess is as good as mine as to what could have split the walnut into two equal halves.  There it was, though, ready for whomever came across it to notice it. 

I am grateful for friends like Diane. She not only sees beauty in nature, she shares it.  So, when she forwarded the picture of this walnut to me, I was immediately drawn to the two complete hearts inside of it.  Even though the walnut was no longer “whole,” it seemed to have more to offer after it had been cracked open.  Its exposed inward parts had a message.

I asked Diane what she thought of the wonderful image she sent to me.  Diane had this to share: 

“God’s love appears in unexpected ways. I really feel that these shapes are more than the shapes of hearts, but also represent openness, since they are split open.  A blog by “Anxious Cucumber” put it this way: “Open hearts, free minds.” This is a good message for now with all the anxiety people are feeling. It is time for people to open up. It is also a time for those of us who know people who are having a difficult time to connect with them and share our hearts.”

It’s amazing that a walnut could speak so profoundly.  And just think, had it not been for the brokenness of the walnut, Diane may not have even noticed it. She would have missed out on nature speaking to her.  I would have missed out too. 

Could it be that your brokenness and my brokenness need to be shared? Would we become bigger-hearted people by allowing others to know our inward parts?  If we open up to others and allow them to open up to us, is there a possibility we would experience a freedom of our minds that would help us to value and accept people who are different from us?

Jesus answered all of these questions with a resounding “yes” by sharing His very life with us.   His brokenness became our wholeness.  His Spirit living in us makes us able to share our hearts with others.  His great love and how He values every life leave no room for the deception of stigma and harsh judgement.   

I will never forget the image of the walnut Diane sent me.  It’s etched in my mind and it has opened my eyes to some truths that Diane shared and some truths that it revealed to me.  Yes, it really did speak. I bet some of you looking at the image right now are hearing it speak too. 

Many of us are taking more walks nowadays because some of our other forms of entertainment are not available right now.  Taking walks is a good thing, at least that’s what my Nurse Practitioner tells me.  Next time you are on a walk, open yourself up to the adventure of nature speaking to you.  You just might hear a truth that allows you to realize that life is still good, opening up to others can free your mind from anxiety, God is still in control and walnuts can bring messages of sharing, caring and hope.

Linda Liebscher is president and one of the founders of Cross Over Ministries, a Christ-centered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities through hope, opportunity, mercy, and encouragement.

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