The darkness had come and gone, and now morning slowly crept up over the horizon. It crawled across plains and valleys; villages and farms...past shutters and into homes, joyously announcing that the night had gone. A new day had dawned.
The light filtered in through a lone girl's bedroom where she lay stricken upon the floor. Her blonde ringlets cascaded across her white lace nightgown, falling delicately over her shoulder as if to catch the sun's rays. Faint traces of teardrops could be seen on her pale cheeks. Her once brilliant, dazzling blue eyes had faded to a lifeless gray. In her hands she cradled a porcelain heart. It was broken in pieces, and shards of it lay scattered across the floor. The girl's shoulders heaved a sob as her eyes filled with tears.
"How long?" she choked, "How long, Oh Lord, must this ache fill my heart? I wish to be free of it and yet here I am."
Wind rustled through the trees outside her window and a chill settled over the desolate room. With it came a calming voice, "Why did you give away what was not yours to keep?"
The question was a quiet challenge, yet it was filled with only good intention.
"What do you mean?" the girl asked, raising her ashen face to the light, where the question had seemingly come.
There was a brief pause, and then two words: "Your heart," was the reply.
The girl's eyes traveled from the heart in her hands to the shattered ruin on the floor. Realization struck her with shame, "Oh Jesus," she cried in agony, "Forgive me!"
As she fell to her knees, the pieces of her porcelain heart slipped out of her hands and crashed to the floor. The tears came flowing freely as she sobbed with her face to the ground. Her entire frame shook under the weight of what she'd done.
How could I? she asked herself, After all he's done...the love he's lavished on me? How could I turn and give my heart away to someone else?
When she finally lifted her face minutes later, it was pallid and somnolent. Raising her gaze back to the sun, she gasped as she saw where the light had fallen. Her porcelain heart lay fixed in front of her, basking in a pool of bright warmth with all its pieces set back in place. A few cracks graced the otherwise smooth surface, and as she leaned closer she noticed something else. At the top of the heart was a tiny keyhole...a sort of golden lock. Next to it a small gold key lay upon the floor, gleaming brightly.
"What is this Lord?" she stammered, incapable of saying anything else.
"Your heart, dear one. I have mended it."
She picked it up ever so gently and held it to the light to examine his work.
"The cracks," she wondered silently, fingering their jagged paths across the heart's glassy facade.
"To remind you of your past, so that you may choose wiser in the future," the voice replied.
"And...the key?" she asked.
"That is the key to your heart, daughter. You are free to do with it as you please."
"Can I give it away?"
"To anyone you so wish," the warm voice spoke again.
"To anyone I so wish..." the girl repeated, and then her face grew somber when she remembered his earlier words, "But it is not mine to keep!"
"You're right, my love," her father replied, "That is why I can keep it for you; and then only I can give it away to the right man when the time comes."
The girl reached for the key and her hand trembled as she picked it up. She turned it over in her palm for a brief moment and then slowly got to her feet. She gathered her skirts as she rose, raking a deep breath.
"I have made my choice, Father," she said, her tone quivering slightly, "I shall give the key to my heart to you." With that, she lifted it, cradled in both hands, up to the ceiling.
"Do with it as you wish, Lord," she added, her voice gaining courage with each syllable, "I trust you to give it to the right person when you will it."
She could hear the smile in his voice as he replied, "Well done, my bride. I am very well pleased."
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Click to listen to the song "Porcelain Heart" by BarlowGirl.