A Parable About The Heart

Photo grab from http://www.wickedinpink.com/2011/07/heart-does-heal.html


Med school taught me many things, but one thing kept coming back over and over again: it is incredibly hard to kill the human body. People do all sorts of things to themselves; they smoke like chimneys until their lungs look like Winston’s, drink like fish until their livers are pickled, eat like pigs until their hearts and kidneys are fatty and three chins hang off their faces, sit around like slugs until it hurts to walk… and yet the human body takes all that punishment and keeps right on ticking.

The human heart is remarkable in that it is designed to pump continuously for a hundred and twenty years without ever needing to be reminded what it was meant to do. It just does it. In all my reading and study, I have come to know one thing without any shadow of doubt: if anything in this universe reflects the fingerprint of God, it is the human heart. While it pumps more than a hundred thousand times a day without stopping, funneling hundreds of gallons of fluid around the body, it derives no benefit from the blood it pumps, making it the most unselfish of organs..

When the human heart has suffered an attack, often the area that’s been shut off from blood flow will die. Amazingly, even half-dead, the human heart still pumps. People can survive and live somewhat normal lives with only part of their hearts functioning, though it changes their lifestyles substantially. The heart is not only the most unselfish of organs, it is also the most courageous and faithful.

But in all my study, I begin to notice one problem: if I was going to science to find life and understand how to bring that back to a dying, diseased human heart, I have gone to the wrong place. To science, the heart was just something to be dissected, labeled.. The scientific approach was cold, unfeeling, and even the way they talked about it was sterile.. Never in all my scientific reading did I encounter anything that talked about a broken heart. Never did I read anything about what the heart felt, how it felt, or why it felt.. 

She brushed my hair out of my eyes and placed her palm flat across my chest and said, “Reese, your books might not tell you this, so I will. Every heart has two parts, the part that pumps and the part that loves. If you’re going to spend your life fixing broken hearts, then learn about both. You can’t just fix the one with no concern for the other.” She smiled and placed my hand across her heart.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. – Proverbs 4:23.

– Abstracts from Charles Martin’s novel, When Crickets Cry (Pg 145, 124, 126, 79, 80)

One of the most beautiful and endearing book I’ve read, I laughed along the character’s victories, and cried with them through their darkest moments as documented in When Crickets Cry. It was a timely period to have read it even for me; a time of inner healing as I shake off the shards of disappointments and pain that I’ve inevitably collected in my heart through the years.

The heart, wrapped within the protective confines of our rib cage is one sturdy piece of work. It is the key to our existence, pumping and beating when we are conscious to its presence, pumping and beating while we are oblivious to its presence or asleep. It takes our abuses in the form of improper care, yet gives us a good long life. When it is sick, medicine and surgery could nurse it back to health.

Yet, one condition no medicine will ever cure however advanced it may be is that of a broken heart. Like a ruptured heart filled with holes, the heart takes a beating from the disappointments, letdowns, betrayals, insecurities, broken promises, grief, sorrow, death of a loved one we encountered; the very things that we can’t escape from as we sojourn through life. Like a mental cardiac arrest, we experience a ‘heart attack’ that threatens to destroy everything in its path; everything we love and hold dear. Through it all, some bleed emotionally, limping through life like an injured animal and like a roaring lion they cause others to bleed along with them. Others grow close and stone-cold in their hearts.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
– Proverbs 13:12a

However, all is not lost. Like a transplant a heart could be ‘replaced’, kick-started back into existence through the pumping of His great, safe hands. Help may come in the form of a dear friend, one’s spouse and family, a new perspective, divine intervention, so on. The only way to heal a broken heart is to once again open up one’s heart; for a heart surgery. Vulnerability is key to opening up one’s heart [to a confidante, mentor, spiritual leader], removing the shards that ensnares one’s heart.

Ecclesiastes 3 puts it as ‘a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up’ (v3). While picking up the pieces, take time off anything that consumes one’s thoughts and mind. Heal, recharge, rebuild the walls of your heart, brick by brick. As we do so, we seal the holes, cut out the unwanted plagues that disease the heart.

While embarking on a journey of healing, be sure to rebuild the gates that was erected in one’s heart long ago to keep out the unwanted things (betrayals, disappointments) in life, for they might be withholding one from experiencing the good things that we could and should have (love, happiness, hope, closeness, trust, peace and joy). Dare to live again, dare to love again.

There’s a second part to Proverbs 13:12. It reads ‘But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.’ 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
– Ezekiel 36:26

This is a parable about the heart, for the broken-hearted. The holes could be healed, the cracks could be mended, the heart could beat rhythmically and vehemently again. The heart can grief and despair, but it is also capable of faith, hope and love.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. – Proverbs 4:23.

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