The Burden of the Heart's Eye

Do not close that eye.

The Burden of the Heart's Eye
My main purpose of writing anything that I write and in the way that I do today is to be able to visit myself, to possibly feel things that I had not felt, or to give space to emotions that I had swept under the rug as I also try to hold your hand (the reader) to take this journey with me, to find yourself in my story as I find myself in yours through our similar life experiences, and perhaps smile at the thought of "Hey, I thought I was the only one." As long as we let honesty be our guide.

Moving back to my parents' homeland (Rwanda) from a country that I had called home for the first few years of my life was quite an interesting experience. I remember seeing people speak in my mother tongue and all I could do was watch their lips attentively like I could catch an English word magically escaping the Kinyarwanda in their mouth. Trying to chew the weird tasting dark greenish vegetable that was spread on my rice (isombe; which is now my favorite vegetable) and other things that seemed strange that have now become a part of who I am. However, some things you just do not get used to. The most disturbing memory that has continued to live with me, that has refused to grow old, was the day we drove past half-built houses that were inhabited by actual people.

I was innocently asking my mother "Why is everything broken?" as we drove past those houses on a rainy afternoon. Everyone in the car laughed it off, probably thinking to themselves "Ah! The questions of a spoilt child" as they explained to me that some houses were still being built and some people did not have money to complete it, but needed a place to stay, so they ended up moving in before it was done.

I remember processing the story and trying to understand as a seven-year-old girl, how it is possible to live in such circumstances. I had so many questions to ask, but the main one was "What happens when it rains? Like today..." my question was never answered because it was never asked, but even as I write this, my heart still feels as heavy as it felt that day.

If you are like me, and by that I mean if you have grown up to become the following: an over thinker, over analyzer, you notice things no one else seems to, you feel things on a deeper level than most people, or at least you allow yourself to go deeper than others want to, then I am hopeful that you will understand what I mean by "the burden of the heart's eye."

I am not quite sure if that is an actual thing, but let us be creative, shall we? Events happen every day, life is happening, and there are things that we all see in the same way and other things that we do not see in the same way, but there are also things. For instance, we could both be in a coffee shop and we both see the old man that is sitting by the window drinking his coffee. We both see that, but only one of us will see his shaking hand as he struggles to handle the cup only because you paid a little bit more attention to the detail.

How does that happen? I'm not so sure, but it happens, and the same thing happens to everything else that is happening around you; you always seem to pay attention to the smallest of details whether you want it or not—you just do. Now that, my friend, is what I call "the eye of the heart," the eye that zooms in on everything that you look at. You want to understand everything fully, which is why you probably end up in a lot of arguments because you want to get down to the roots of everything. You probably find yourself giving advice even when not asked for it, not necessarily because you want to, but it is simply your nature.

You understand things and most of the time you are that one person who is always being told by your friends, "Hey, it is really not that deep." BUT IT IS!! It is to you and you want to talk about it, talk about everything and talk as deeply as you can about it, but the thing is not everyone wants to go there. Not everyone has the strength to go there, not everyone understands the importance of going there or some just do not want to carry that burden.

The burden of honest conversations is because it is likely to tear down the walls we have built to guard ourselves, the burden of reality, the burden of truth, the burden of admitting defeat, the burden of love, the burden of a heart that chooses to care, the burden of a fighter, the burden of a seeker of the hidden meanings of every word and action.

The burden will possibly introduce to a lot of people who will not understand you; some will call you "Miss/Mr. Know-it-all," and some days will truly be uncomfortable. Some days even words will fail you, to be able to articulate the things you see and what you think they mean. Self-doubt will attack you, often. You will get lonely, dear, but the other reality is that the world needs you. The world needs more people like you.

So when your friends tell you that "It is not that deep," go deeper and if it is too much for them to handle, do not apologize for being who you are. When you have questions that you think are risky to ask, ask them. Be true to yourself and to everyone around you because that is what we need the most today, in a world that chooses the easiest and shallowest way out of everything.Your heart has that eye to see and understand things that everyone else does not. You are important. Do not let your voice to be silenced, do not close that eye. Carry that burden with love, grace, and compassion. You are important.

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Winnie Rugamba

Searching for Home...meanwhile I write.

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