I use the heart emoji a lot, though not as much as one of my daughter’s friends who finishes every one of her texts with at least 28 hearts, 5 unicorns, and a rainbow. (I love her so much!)
I like hearts and what they represent – kindness, goodness, and of course … LOVE. I also like the shape of the heart – symmetrical, smooth, and full. I believe all our hearts started in that shape way back when, but over time, many have taken on a different form.
You’ve heard the many idioms that use the word “heart”. Take for instance the phrase “tug at your heart”. Compassion for another in distress can stretch out our hearts easier than pulling on an old sweater. And what about a “broken heart”? These hearts must be painstakingly mended and end up resembling a baseball with its 108 stitches. And God bless the “sick at heart”. Discouragement and depression deflates. In the end, life throws at us circumstances that alter the shapes of our hearts rendering them unrecognizable … resembling flabby blobs rather than hearts … though no less lovely, I would argue.
My heart has met its own transforming circumstances over the last several years, but has recently regained most of its original fullness. The shape looks nothing like it did 5 years ago, but it is beautiful in a whole new way. Yes, it has taken some hits, but it has weathered the storms.
I have been made aware in recent months of many who are currently weathering hard times – job losses, deaths, ailments, injuries, cancer, heart failures, mental illness, discrimination, suicide. It pains my now more sensitive heart.
As it should.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from walking with loved ones through hard times it’s this – the healthy hearts need to …
Pick. Up! The!! Slack!!!
Yep. And just like that, I went all Boot Camp on you.
But I’m serious. If there’s one thing that a pressured, hurting, sickly heart needs, it’s encouragement from those of us who have something to give. We need to support these fragile hearts, because God knows, when the sh*t hits the fan in our own worlds, we’re gonna need these people then as much as they need us now.
We need to give a crutch to the faltering.
We need to offer grace to the ungracious.
We need to be a punching bag for those who need to throw punches.
We need to be a support to those who are crumbling.
We need to pull people up from the muck and mire of life.
We need to hold onto hope for those who have lost all hope.
We need to pray for peace for those who have lost all peace.
And we need to love – unconditionally … all these people who can’t (right now) love us back.
Is it easy? No! Nothing GOOD is ever easy.
Is is necessary? Yes! It is. Because otherwise, your perfectly shaped heart will no longer be perfectly shaped. It will wrinkle and wither and die.
Let me explain. There’s this weird sort of phenomenon with the heart … unable to be confirmed by science. However, I’ve witnessed it first hand:
The more you give of your heart, the more your heart grows in fullness.
It doesn’t make any sense, I know. But it’s true. And we all should confirm (or deny) this statement of mine.
Just for fun – right now – think of person who needs a little (or a lot) of encouragement. Put yourself in their shoes. What would you want them to do for you if you were in that situation?
Now do it.
Let me know how your heart feels afterwards … for data collecting purposes, of course.