I was having an ultra sound of my heart last week. As I biked down to the hospital and were feeling well, I did not expect anything to be the matter. Just a follow-up to search for scars of the adventures of last fall. Even so, being examined, on a table, with all kinds of equipments attached to my body, makes me attentive. What if there is something to find, and they overlook it?
I felt myself stretching my mind and ears to listen, to know. I did not hear anything, at least not the pitter-patter of a tiny heart. Then I realized, for the first time I had an ultrasound where I was not supposed to listen for a baby’s heartbeat. Only then did I hear that my own heart had been swishing and swooshing healthily along all the time. For the first time in my life I literally listened to my heart.
If that took some getting used to, what with the heartbeat of our souls? As I biked on into town I wondered, how do we make ourselves attentive, to listen, and to alter the course when the core of our being is not in rhythm? Most of our life, it is, sometimes though we are so busy listening for, adjusting to, and taking care of the hearts of everybody else, that nobody is left to listen for us, and why should they? If we can take care of others, should we not be able to take care of ourselves?
Ultimately, to me happiness is found in community, in serving, in togetherness. I also know that my responsibility is to serve where I do not make myself a martyr, but where the joy of my heart wells forth. Swishing and swooshing. I’ll be listening for that.
Oh Solveig, once again you floor me. ” it is, sometimes though we are so busy listening for, adjusting to, and taking care of the hearts of everybody else, that nobody is left to listen for us, and why should they? If we can take care of others, should we not be able to take care of ourselves?” I am reminded of the old story of Rabbi Haim of Romshishok’s about long spoons in heaven and hell. A man was taken to hell to see how they were in agony because they were trying to feed themselves with ten foot spoons. In heaven, the spoons were there, but everyone was feeding everyone else.
I don’t know how you create that listening to the heart in the people around you, unless by giving, repeatedly, until it hurts and your heart is raw. It is a courageous course of action and thankless, often. And with a nebulous vision of the Kingdom of Heaven at the end of it. I try to take that course of action but it can be very lonely.
dear Kate, thanks for reminding me of the story of the spoons! Isn’t that sometimes difficult, daring to trust that others will feed you as you feed them? As you see I chose the picture of me hiding /or showing myself behind an angel to accompany this story. I need to practice on that, not hiding behind an angelic mask, as that makes me the wrong kind of martyr, the bitter one. Your comment struck a cord in my heart, as your words echo my feelings. I think I am learning though, to trust that what I love giving, also are the gifts and acts I am supposed to give. Not as a rosy, fairytale, easy life, just through the struggle of life to be allowed to remember that I am supposed to love myself just as much as I love my neighbor and God. I am not able to write this clearly, as these are thoughts I guess I never will be done with. A tiny example, I love decorating for Christmas, and was overdoing it for too many years. Then one year, as I was arranging a Christmas village along the windowsills,to have it ready, as always, when the boys came home from school, I saw myself doing it every christmas for the rest of my life. I visualized myself as a grandmother on a rickety stepladder arranging Santa Clauses and carolers, just because everybody expected it. Suddenly I knew I could not be bothered, and hastily cleared everything away. That advent we had some talks on what we really loved, what we really would miss, and what each of us would love to contribute to make it Christmas. That was twelve years ago, and no-one has missed the Christmas village ever. The next year I had a lovely advent making a quilt with the words we had agreed on should characterize our christmases, joy, peace, rest and fun. The rest of life is more complicated though…..we have a lot to talk over when we meet some time or another Kate!
I shall look forward to that, Solveig 🙂
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