The sun had not risen yet as I drove to work one random morning about a month ago. My mind was busy with all the day-to-day worries that I should hand over to God but have trouble doing because I’m human and because I’m fearful of losing control and of the unknown. For months, I’d been praying for a sign from God. A sign for a new path, or a sign for a peaceful heart, or a sign for healing. The last ten months have flooded our lives with grief and uncertainty, with pain and brokenness, and I just needed any kind of sign to reassure my heart of hope. Then, it was as if time slowed down as the traffic lights and headlights lit the dark morning and I traveled through a busy intersection. On the sidewalk to the right stood a tall, lanky, and rugged-looking man. He was staring into the distance dressed in pajama pants and a faded t-shirt under a tattered hoodie. His faded t-shirt had a word printed across the chest – LOVE. Over the speakers in my car, Brandi Carlile sang: if you bear a heavy load/I’ll be your wheels, I’ll be the road/I’ll see us through the thick and thin/for love and loss until the end. Tears dripped over my eyelids.
I know God is love. I know God loves us always and unconditionally. I know another day of life is a present from God. I know I’m fortunate beyond measure. I know I am loved. However, I am a human going through a mixture of human experiences and emotions, and sometimes knowing a fact to be true doesn’t always make the fact feel true. It’s boggling how our minds can know the truth but our hearts can sometimes lag behind in feeling it. I think sometimes life experiences weigh our hearts with so much strife, with so much grief, with so much uncertainty, with so many questions, with so much confusion that our hearts stop beating, and our bodies just move forward out of habit because we’re still breathing. It’s scary in this place of movement without a beating heart. In this place of knowing but not feeling. I look around and see suffering – so many bodies moving without a beating heart.
Maybe the rugged-looking man was another body moving without a beating heart. Maybe the rugged-looking man was a sign from God. Maybe the rugged-looking man was God. Whoever the rugged-looking man was, he struck my beatless heart back to life. His eyes may have been distant, but his chest read LOVE. His LOVE sparked an electrical current that helped me feel my heartbeat again. From the highest of the peaks/to the darkness of the blue/I was just too blind to see/like a lighthouse in the storm/you were always guiding me/ yeah, it’s true/you carried me with you.
Come to think of it, maybe this scary place of moving bodies without beating hearts isn’t exactly what it first seemed to be after all. It’s still scary, but oftentimes, the most invigorating moments of our lives are scary simply because we let go and take the risks God lovingly presents us with. Could it be possible that God has been carrying my body to protect my heart from over-exerting itself, from over-working itself – to protect it from exploding? Our hearts need a break sometimes too – a time to rest and recover from the grief, the pain, the confusion. From all the crevices that grow deeper from years of missing lost loved ones or from missing opportunities or from all the little life moments that have chipped away at our hearts. Our hearts may even need a break from the highest peaks too. After all, too much of a good thing can be dangerous as well. The world needs balance and so do our hearts. And, sometimes our heart just needs to rest. In times of balance and rest, may our hearts find hope in knowing God will carry us to love.