I heard on the news yesterday that Walter Mondale, who was Vice President under Jimmy Carter, was at the Mayo Clinic where he had just had heart surgery. Of course, he did, I thought, for surely he is heartbroken. His wife Joan had died only days ago.
We are brokenhearted when there is a profound loss.
We wear our heart on our sleeve when we can't help but show our love.
We take heart.
We lose our heart.
We offer our heart.
Pure of heart. Aching heart. Soft heart. Valiant heart. Noble heart. Tender heart. Understanding heart. Peaceful heart. Our heart's desire.
I was driving home from seeing my Dad when I heard about Walter Mondale and instinctively I placed my hand on my heart in a gesture of understanding, connecting, and blessing. I am aware of how often I rest my hand on my heart when I hear or see something that touches me. That simple motion in which I sense the power of the organ that maintains the flow of blood through my body reminds me to open my heart to not only what I feel, but to the needs and desires of others. I feel a connection when I touch my heart.
Before I meet with a spiritual directee, I pause with my hand on my heart and I whisper to myself, "Listen with the eyes of your heart." When I find myself in the midst of a heartfelt conversation, whether professionally or personally, when someone is pouring out their heart to me or when I sense a heart that is tight and constricted, I prompt myself to be present with a listening heart.
A Habit of The Heart
Recently, I decided to set the alarm on my phone to ring at 4:00 in the afternoon every day. That is often a low point of the day for me, but now it has become a welcome time of the day, for the alarm signals me to stop and pause. To rest in silence briefly and listen to the beat of my heart. With my hand on my heart I become more aware of where I am and who I am and of the love I have to share. I become more centered in the life I am blessed to have and for at least an instant, I feel bonded to all of God's creation.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I wonder what your heart gesture will be. I invite you to listen with your heart, to offer your heart, to open your heart. Who knows where that will lead!