Wednesday, May 12, 2021

With Every Heartbeat

 In small incremental ways, we are returning to “normal”.

Will we ever experience the “normal” we knew pre-pandemic?

Impossible to know.

But, really – how much joy we are finding in the small things, things like actual salt and pepper shakers in the restaurant, instead of those ridiculous tiny packets that scatter everywhere when torn open.

We’re getting outside more. Enjoying nature. Stubborn Northerners, we are waiting out the lingering chill in May, certain that flip flop weather will finally return.

Making plans, feeling hopeful.

Alongside this buoyant feeling we have little remnants of dread, torn bits of anguish hovering in our peripheral vision.

“It’s complex,” a co worker remarked. “We want to believe we can step out, but there’s that little bit of hesitation.”

She’s right.

With every heartbeat there is a silent pulse of “what if”.

Another friend commented on an image of the heart, much like the one in this piece. She remarked, “It makes me think of all the ways our hearts are impacted, for good or for bad. And in this you see the scars, and the signs of growth”.

We are seeing and hearing and tasting bright ribbons of optimism. Yet some days, all we can taste of life is what isn’t here anymore. That’s a longing, a vague hankering for something we can’t even identify.


The heart is a








One of my favorite authors, “Anonymous”, describes how the channels of the heart are formed:

“Sorrow with his pick mines the heart, but he is a cunning workman. He deepens the channels whereby happiness may enter, and he hollows out new chambers for joy to abide in when he is gone.”

Could it be? Could we actually be carriers of a deeper capacity for joy, now that we are slowly emerging from a global pandemic?

Is it possible? Is it imaginable that we are organically vaccinated against anguish? Are we building immunities against despair?

Let’s hope so.

When humans experience loss together, a new passageway is formed. It’s an alternative path toward repair, and it is made of the bone and sinew of sheer will, a spark of unmatched creativity and the kind of humor that has the guts to show up in the dark.

There is uncertainty, sure – clouds roll in, people die, the phone rings and resets your heartbeat forever.

Yet in the scrambled, confusing network of pain and joy mingled, there are markers of growth. There are signs of achievement.

There are strong sutures of binding up, of healing.

I’d never before considered laughter a weapon. It’s our first line of defense, portable and accessible whenever darkness dares sneak in sideways.

Proverbs 17:22, The Message "A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired."

We, like the heart, form a complicated and irregular network of pathways and mysterious chambers.

If we stop to learn about each other, we will see the scars, the signs of growth, the purpose and the destination.

That’s the kind of “normal” I hope we are moving toward, arm-in-arm and mindfully matching our strides to each other’s.

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