H. Rick Goff
THE PRICKLY HEART
The thorns of the prickly heart stand ready to stick anyone that gets too close. They grow stronger after each perceived attack and eventually grow from a defensive mechanism into an offensive weapon. They now preemptively attack anyone and anything that gets to close, even before they know their true intentions. Anyone that comes near the prickly heart is assumed to be foe versus friend. The thorns of the prickly heart have only one purpose; protect the heart from pain.
The prickly heart can't remember life without pain. The memories of the prickly heart are a trail of tears, regrets, and mistakes. Everyone that was allowed inside left scars on the way out which eventually grew into thorns.
But as the prickly heart matures, it starts to feel while the thorns protect it, they also trap it inside itself. It's now that the prickly heart begins to realize it is a strong muscular organ capable of pumping blood throughout the entire body. It is protected by the ribcage, the sternum in front, ribs on two sides, and twelve thoracic vertebrae in the back. But most importantly, it is protected by a mature brain, and it doesn't need thorns for protection any longer.
The soft inner tissue of the prickly heart become exposed and vulnerable. The prickly heart embraces the vulnerability and no longer fears the pain of past heart times. In fact, the prickly heart now suspects that some of the the heart times of the past were not attacks at all. But instead someone special trying to get in; not to cause damage or pain, but to repair, heal, and most of all love!
Finally, without fear, the prickly heart allows someone inside again. Over time, the damage is repaired, the scars are healed, and the thorns disappear. The prickly heart can now love and be loved. The prickly heart is now, a Loving Heart!