Matters of the Heart are sometimes complicated. The heart has its history in every person after all. It has a memory of tenderness and yearning, reaching out for another and being brushed away like crumbs on a shirtfront. It never completely hardens, don't ever let anyone tell you that. I won't believe it, and I hope you don't either because that means that the hardness has crept into your own heart. But that is your story. This is Grace's story. Grace's heart had become fearful of hurt and did not trust. She loved her animals, thought of them as people. They were her people. But some time long ago, Grace had really stopped trusting Human Beings.
She had accepted this, binding herself to her land and her animals with years of work and care. She was therefore somewhat surprised to find a tiny creeping feeling of interest in Bennet Wimmer.
Have you ever found something unexpected growing in your garden. Something that just popped up? Besides weeds, of course. My Mother use to call these little surprises "Volunteers." That is what Grace felt popping up in her heart, a "Volunteer." A tiny, tender shoot of emotional greening. I can tell you right now, she was tempted to stomp it out like some people grind out a cigarette butt.
As the day wore on, this feeling of ambivalence simmered in Grace's gut, making her feel slightly flu-ish.
Murray waited and watched her. Stewing.
He was relieved when she finally spoke later that afternoon. "I am not going up there tomorrow morning Murray."
Grace spoke her thoughts as if Murray had shared every thought she had processed in her brain all that long day. There was no prelude. She did not talk about her preoccupation and knew it was not necessary.
Murray knew his part in this kind of exchange and only grunted in response. He knew it was best to try to let Grace work this out for herself.
"I think its best to not start something like this with him, that Bennet Wimmer."
"Of course, I am not sure what THIS really is Murray." Murray nodded and grunted again, wondering what there was for supper. This process with Grace could take a while and he was hungry.
"Maybe I should go tomorrow morning, see what he has in mind...just be neighborly...maybe it would be rude to not show up at all. Afterall, he has just lost his Mother, poor man."
This one sided conversation went on and on. Murray never actually did more than grunt and shake his head in what he thought might be an appropriate spot.
Grace finally concluded "Ok Murray, I am going to meet Bennet Wimmer tomorrow morning. No expectations. Just the neighborly thing to do."
Murray nodded and rolled onto his side. He was exhausted.