I really should be asleep right now - and I am sure that the typing will be atrocious! But I just had two conversations of sorts(does texting count as a conversation?) and my mind started going and I thought I should at least get this down before it got lost in the great abyss of a now 46 year old brain!
The first conversation was with a new person in my life. One who has come into it much like a warm spring breeze. The conversation is easy, we talk for hours. The times we are together are full of the hope that comes with the newness of that Spring breeze - knowing that the chill of winter is behind you and that the world is full of new birth, new growth, new life - a hope for the season to come. It is in this conversation that thoughts of the heart (mine in particular) came to mind.
The other conversation was with a dear friend from college. This friend is in a totally different place in life. There is no spring breeze blowing their way right now. It's more of the stillness that comes before a storm. The feeling that comes when you can begin to hear the thunder and see the lightning in the distance - knowing that you are going to have to weather the storm one way or another - but with that completely paralyzing feeling that you have NO idea how - or even if you can.
Which brings me to the "heart" of the matter so to speak. In both of these conversations the heart is the central focus -whether you realize it or admit it or not. The heart not only beats to give us life, but the heart beats as part of our souls. God knew what he was doing when he made the heart the center of our being...it is the center of what keeps us physically alive, but it is also the center of what keeps us emotionally alive. The terms referring to the heart abound: heart ache, heart break, heart soaring, heart about to burst, heart broken, tender-hearted, hard-hearted, open heart, cold hearted - the list goes on and on! Seriously - I actually found a list of heart idioms - it was incredible how many there are! If the brain were the center of our being these terms would be completely different! But it is in our hearts that we feel the pain, the joy, the anxiety, the excitement, the sorrow, the gratitude - all the emotions of our lives. We were designed to physically FEEL them in our hearts.
Isn't that amazing to you? That we can be over joyed and our hearts be about to burst AND at another time we can be so full of grief that we are certain our hearts are going to actually break. Tonight my heart felt both... joy and gratitude - about to burst...then pain for someone hurting - heartache. It is truly amazing to me that even within minutes I can feel the difference between the two emotions in my chest. And what is even more amazing to me is that God gave us this gift to feel so truly deeply - and not just the good stuff, but the bad stuff too.
Now I have had my share of heart ache the past 2 years. The loss of a marriage, the loss of a dear grandmother, the loss of my sweet dad most recently...and the pain I felt - physical pain in my chest - was at times nearly more than I could bear. And it was during these times that I reached for the one and only thing I know to reach for - my awesome God! He held me in His arms, He comforted me with words that He so often shared through others or in my own study of His word, or songs that I would hear or sing. He healed my broken heart, putting it back together piece by precious piece only as quickly as I was ready.
Now I have a new feeling in my chest - and it is a physical feeling as well...but it is one of hope, gratitude, love, joy - for the future is bright and the possibilities are exciting! And yes, that fresh warm spring breeze certainly is contributing to my heart warming condition - but it is more than that.
After a day of hundreds of birthday wishes how could my heart not be full? I have been so blessed by so many people in my life. As I sit here and think about the people who have lifted me in prayer, sent me a note, encouraged me in my ministry hopes and dreams, offered me help and love...how in the world could my heart not be close to overflowing?
So what I have learned over the past 2 years? I have learned from the heartache comes pain, from the pain comes healing, from the healing comes hope, from the hope comes the abundant love of my friends and family - but most importantly the extraordinary love of God!
So if you're full of heartache right now - reach for Him - He can carry you through.
If your heart is full of love and gratitude - reach for those whose hearts are empty and broken. That is what I intend to do - in this - my year of gratitude!