Torn Free

“The beauty in a heart torn

is more than what remains to —

Beat on.

It is the also and more so

in the spacious mysterious openings —

The tender gouges through which the soul can  —

Breathe freely.”

Julie Ann Stevens

The torn heart series came from my playing around with making Valentines in 2011.  I started with a pile of old art and fashion magazines and some dried sage and rose petals.  Then a couple of stray pieces of watercolor paper presented themselves and I reached for the Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue.  While ripping interesting shapes from images that caught my eye, I was aware that I was dismantling and disrupting the careful art direction of another creative soul.  The torn edges that started to arrange themselves on the canvas reminded me of the places where human hearts might be broken.  Some hairline fractures.  Others more gaping in nature.  Still more — overlapping and scar like.

The metaphor started to take form.

In 2012, I was invited to write something for the Lenten season about “brokenness.”

Before putting pen to paper, I reached again for the Aleene’s and the old magazines.

This time the message went deeper as my eyes were drawn to chains, lace and baubles interwoven with human anatomy.  With every inspired shred and glue down, the divine seemed to announce—

“You may think the objective of life is to seal up your containers so tight that nothing can ever disrupt them — but I will pierce them one by one like the hands and feet of Christ.  Only then will you know the brilliant meaning of this life I have planned for you.”

Each of my torn hearts helps me see the luminosity that exists in my own life today where God broke the seal —

And I was torn free —

Opened, made accessible —

And then slowly —

With His grace and the grace of others He put in my life —

Helped to heal.

Originally published during Lent in 2012.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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