So again, why does having an open heart matter?
To answer this question, I’ll start with what inspired another project I had started a couple years ago that was going to go with the poem in the game’s explanation area.
The image was going to be about the inside of this house, representing a heart, that was cold and all covered in ice. Then on the left side of the image there would be this open door with sunshine coming in, representing love coming into the heart, and melting the coldness away.
Here is how far I had gotten with it:
What inspired it was just thinking about life and different interviews I had seen of people’s lives that talked about painful things that had happened in their lives that made their hearts cold to other people, and all of the pain they had brought because their hearts had become too shut down to care about anyone anymore. Summaries for two of them can be seen at the bottom of the page. Then when God's true, deep love for them came into their lives, they were completely different people, able to be kind and gentle and loving to others, and the way that they being kind to others opened other people’s and their families’ hearts to be able to be kind.
And that’s really the philosophy of the game, that love opens the door of our hearts, and when we know that we are loved, we are able to love others. There is a verse in the Bible that describes this well that says we love God because He first loved us, and it’s actually a very true principle in life, that when we let love in, it opens our hearts to give love.
On the flip side, to answer the question at the top, and the other part of what the game is about, it's also about what happens when we choose to not open our hearts to love, and who we become as a person. Sadly, many times, to other people, we end up becoming the source of pain that we hated so much in the first place, yet most of the time we don't even realize that we have. That's a very strange fact when you start to think about it, that when we get hurt, each of us in our own way, then shut down our hearts and hurt others by not caring about them anymore, when it seems like after being hurt, we would want to be the opposite of what brought us pain. Yet, when you start looking for it, this simple truth is literally everywhere in life.
I think the reason why it happens is because when someone does something to us that hurts, our hearts shut down. We don’t want to feel the pain, but when our hearts are shut down, it puts up a wall in our lives to ever giving love to anyone or caring about them, and when we don't care about people, we hurt them.
It’s really the reason why we have affairs or become divorced. It's the answer to the question of why does a rich person hoard wealth they will never need, even when there are so many people he or she could help. Also, the answer to why we use each other through things like prostitution or pornography or hurt each other through sexual assault? Why do we steal from each other or find a reason to murder each other? Or when we play games, we always want to win, even when it means someone else is going to feel worthless for losing, and so many other things as well. It's because our hearts don’t love anymore; we want what we want to make us feel better about ourselves and somehow make that pain in us go away, and we don’t care if it brings pain to anyone else. The truth is, we bring pain to others because our hearts are too closed off to care about them anymore.
Sometimes the correlation can be more direct, where you have generations of drug and alcohol addiction, or children growing up in abusive homes becoming just as abusive to their families when they grow up. You can see this in religions too. This is just the one I'm closest to, but many people hate Christianity for the times some Christians have hated others throughout history, some even to the point of blaming all the world's problems on them and saying they should all be killed, and hate God because they believe God hates them, which isn't true. I agree, the things that have happened aren't good, and yet, what is the response, to hate and reject Christians the same as some Christians rejected others? How is that being any different?
And I understand that when people do awful things to us, we want to have some kind of justice, and it’s important to stop the evil that they are doing, but the question really is, is your heart any different from their’s; are you any different from them? If you don’t love the people that hate or do evil to you, and hate them or want to bring pain to them instead, you’re both just hating each other, and are no different from each other.
Furthermore, the reality is, that most of the time, the reason they did something bad to you in the first place is because someone else had done something bad to them and closed their hearts to not care about you. It is still their choice to do evil to you, and I’m not saying they are just the victims of everything that had been done to them and they just couldn’t help it, but it’s also each of our own choice to either keep our hearts shut down and not care about them, or anyone else, and be the same as them; or to open our hearts and give love instead. So that's why it's a question of who do you choose to be in life?
As I look back on my own life as well, it seems to always be the times that my heart is shut done that I end up hurting someone and regretting it later, even just by not be willing to give to them. Yet, I find that when my heart is open, caring about someone else almost comes naturally where before it didn't.
This is why, I think at least, having an open heart matters so much. Without it, we really do end up hurting the people around us, sometimes very badly, simply because we have stopped caring about them, and that endless cycle of hurting each other just keeps going on and on. You can really see this clearly in the two life stories below, and in many ways, the world is such an awful place because each of us, in our own way, are awful to each other, and every one of us are responsible. That's one of the things I love about God; that He's not like me :)
The great thing about it is having an open heart actually helps us as well. I think it’s really the only way to ever actually be able to enjoy life. When the heart is shut down, there’s no way to ever enjoy the things that are happening around us because we are closed off from everything around us. All that we really have are things like bitterness and anger at the things that happened, or escaping into addictions like alcohol, drugs, and pornography. None of those things bring any real life to life. Having an open heart is the ability to have things like joy and peace, and being able to enjoy the things that happen in life. That’s not to say that life is perfect, but it is definitely different.
So, if you don’t want to hurt the people around you anymore, then do the things that keep your heart open. Be willing to find healing for the hurt that has happened in your life. Be willing to forgive and move on with your life.
I think that’s all; hopefully it was all understandable, even if you may not agree with all of it :)
Here is a summery of what I could remember of the two of the interviews I mentioned at the top that were part of the inspiration for the project.
I just found out recently that this first story was put up on YouTube. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63vM7NcrB-o
Another story I had heard was about someone who grew up in the Ozarks in the 40s or 50s I think. At the time of the interview he seemed to be in his 50 or 60s. He talked about his growing up experience and this one event in particular that was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. The event happened when he was around 8 or 9 years old, I think he said. What happened was he had found this little baby lamb in the woods one day and brought it home to take care of it. He talked about how he really loved this little baby lamb and loved taking care of it. Then after coming home from school one day, he found that his father had killed the baby lamb with a tire iron. No explanation for it, he had just killed it. He talked about how it just absolutely crushed his heart to see this, and he ran away from home, living with people that would help him until he was old enough to live on his own.
The thing about it though was that he was never able to deal with what had happened, and he talked about how the anger and emotions inside just grew and grew to the point that he was never able to be anything but violent and angry with the people around him, just as his father had been towards him. Then there was this one time that, I think he said, someone just bumped into him at a mini-mart type place, and all of the anger and emotions just exploded out of him and he attacked the guy. However, the person he attacked was a much better fighter than he was, and he almost died in the encounter. It was at this point that he had kind of a wake up call that he really needed to get help and deal with all the things that had happened in his life. After he had found healing for the things that had happened, he was a completely different person, and you could tell as he was being interviewed just how gentle he had become. His heart was open again, and he was able to love again.