It’s On My Heart

There’s a weight, a pressure that has been sitting there in my chest for a week now. And when she honked her horn at me this morning, I thought my heavyweight heart was going to jump right out of my chest cavity.

There are times to honk and times to keep quiet.

I couldn’t/wouldn’t turn right and run down the man crossing the street but apparently that was what she expected me to do. “What’s the rush,” I wondered, “that your getting somewhere is more important than the life of the man crossing the street?”

What is the ever-living rush?

And then, as if to make an exclamation point to her honking, she pulled into the next lane, the going straight lane, maneuvered around my car, and proceeded to turn right in front of me, grazing the last steps of the crossing man. And then, traffic ahead of her stopped. She, in her impatience, saved herself nothing.

Between trying to put my heart back in its chest and marveling at her maneuver I had less than a split second to decide. How am I going to react in front of my children? Because this could potentially be big.

And hadn’t I prayed just this morning that when I come face-to-face with the ugly and the impatient and the rude and the chaotic and the pain of this world that I would respond with something other, something that might look like a ray of light in a dark place, something like a hand-up or the face of God or an unidentifiable calm?

What was the knee-jerk going to look like?

Surely, this could be a time of righteous indignation; any anger I felt could be justified. A man’s life was a stake for goodness sake.

But we also reap what we sow and what did I want to sow in my heart, in the hearts of my children, in the fertile fields of life? So, I laughed. Out loud. And I prayed a blessing over her. Out loud. And while my heart still hurt and while inwardly I felt another little darkening, I waved good-bye and wished her a Merry Christmas and we went a separate direction.

“Why did you wave good-bye Mommy?” came the question from the backseat. “Because that is a very grumpy person and I think she needs a little love. “

“When I’m grumpy I would rather everyone around me be grumpy too,” Little Miss chimed in. “I want them to be grumpy and angry and fight me.”

Oh my heart. Yes. I know. I’ve seen that all my life. Grumpy. Angry. Fight. But what does it solve? We’re all just in the mud pit together. Where no one can gain traction. There is no upper hand although the sharp-barbed arrow of the tongue, the poisoned thought… it feels good to launch… for 1.001 of a second. Just the time it takes for a heart to beat.

I hear Little Miss pouring out her heart and I know. But maybe I can change her course from here. “If we respond with grumpiness to other grumpy people, we never get out of the grumps. But if we respond with love, maybe we can pull the grumpy person out of the grumps. Love stops the cycle of hurt.”

It’s not easy and it comes with a cost. Me, myself, and I, we wanted to rain down chastisement. Indignation was ours to grab. But.

But there was a little baby boy who was born into the dark places. He sought out the dark places and tore the curtains that kept out the light. He tore the curtains of disease and demons and despair and even death. In one powerful gut-wrenching act of obedience, he tore the temple curtain that separated the holy of holies from mankind. Because Love stops the cycle of hurt.

Yes, my heart still hurts. There are arrows from the past that I’ve tried to pull out, but they fester right now. Like arthritis in a joint that developed from an early injury, I feel their pain still. Aching and heavy. And there are fresh pains for friends and family who are going through it right now. Going through the dark, the valley of the shadow of death. And what do we do with our hard, aching hearts?

He stepped into the world. He said, “For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matt 11:30) And He asks us to hand it over. Whatever the it is.

Ann Voskamp is talking this morning about how He traded His heart for ours, how up there on the cross He took our hard, aching hearts and traded them in for His. Heart transplants.

And when we feel it is His heart beating in us, when Love is the beat of our heart, ahhhh. The sigh of relief. Like the sigh of a snowflake falling. Like the milk-drunk coo of an infant. Like peace. The kind that passes all understanding. The kind that waves and wishes a Merry Christmas.

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