During the week of Thanksgiving, you will have the opportunity to hear from five guest bloggers. They will be sharing about reflections related to the holiday season. Today’s guest post comes from Janna Moss. At four years old, Janna wanted to be a cowgirl. She is now a corporate communications consultant, but she owns two pairs (and counting) of cowboy boots. Janna attends Browncroft Community Church, where she has found friends who will read, talk, and write with her about things that matter.

When Dorothy meets the Tin Man on her quest through Oz, he is frozen where he stands, his axe is raised in the air, and he is unable to express himself with more than a moan. It doesn’t take long for Dorothy to learn he is desperate for a heart. But it is clear that the Tin Man’s problem is not that he has no feelings. He is not indifferent; rather he is incapable of being moved. He has lost his connection to the essential part of himself that responds with passion to the world around him.

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It’s scary to remain sensitive in our world that is defined by shades of chaos. But when we don’t take the time to exercise our sensitivity, we lose touch with who we are. The hinges between our experience and our ability to act with passion and meaning become stiff and rusty. In time, we become stuck with our axes raised, and in our effort to defend against feeling everything, we end up feeling nothing at all.

As humans, our hearts are designed to bend, to move and be moved, but this takes practice. Only constant, purposeful effort can keep our hearts from freezing up. The Tin Man learns to reconnect with his passion by traveling well – being available, present, and vulnerable – with his companions. Together, they sing to each other, cry with each other, fight for each other, encourage each other. They never stop moving or being moved by one another.

The coming weeks will be a whirlwind of lights, sounds, and demands. We will be surrounded by people who seem terribly complicated because we are all terribly complicated. The challenge I’d issue this season is to put down your axe. Before reacting in defense of your heart – by controlling, manipulating, or becoming more stubborn – take the time to practice being moved.

It’s not as difficult as it may seem. Ask instead of tell. Listen instead of talk. Accept instead of critique.

This will be uncomfortable. It may hurt, especially for those who are just beginning to exercise rusty joints. But yielding to each other without defensiveness greases the places where we can be moved in meaningful ways – ways we were designed to be moved. (And when someone comes along whose heart yields to yours, by all means, act in kind. We cannot underestimate how very easily we might damage each other when we defend without cause.)

We’re all looking for the same thing on our journey: a place where we may be confident that who we are matters. This road is too unfamiliar, unpredictable, and unsafe to walk on our own, but there is no other route. And so we must commit to travelling well with our companions. This requires us to be purposeful and sensitive, to move and be moved. And, above all, it means we must remember that although we may struggle together, it is only in our togetherness that we may ultimately find our way home.

Photo credit by Pixabay.