I haven’t been feeling well, and it turns out I have heart trouble. Well, no trouble from the heart murmur I have had since my childhood. My blood pressure is fine, too--right where it ought to be. The actual organ seems to run fine, actually.
It’s just that while I’ve been pondering on the reasons why I haven’t felt well lately, it occurred to me that somewhere along the line, my heart has hardened up. Now, I am not talking about the arteries-are-clogged-gotta-go-for-unclogging-surgery kind of hardened.
I’m talking about the kind of hardened where my first reaction when a neighbor needs my help isn’t a willingness to do what I can, but irritation at a schedule interrupted. The kind where, when my children need me, I don’t get that maternal pull to serve, but instead I feel annoyed and put upon. The kind of hardened where, when my husband reaches out for me, I allow my own thoughts and problems to crowd him out. The kind where every single thing I should be grateful for is instead some kind of burden.
The scriptures talk about hearts being hard, or cold. A lot. Perhaps that’s because it tends to be a problem for some of us. The scriptures are good for figuring out things like that, I’ve found.
So…I’ve got some softening up to do.
And, like so many other things in life, it will happen when I stop being so dang preoccupied with myself. To soften my heart, I have to be more concerned with what others need than with what I need. It has to matter to me that the people around me feel loved and cared for—that they know they are valuable. They should understand that they mean more to me than any schedule or temporary task. It needs to be that my actions show that my heart is softened towards them…that my heart is centered on what I can give, not what I can get.
Heart trouble really is the worst kind of trouble there is. And I can’t wait to start feeling better. Something tells me everyone around me will start feeling better, too.