Assuming my heart gave advice, what would it say?
“Stop eating so many french fries?”
“Exercise more and worry less?”
“Please keep ignoring me?”
Most advice comes from experience, but my poor heart’s only knowledge comes from the sweat shop that is my chest. A solitary working environment that is dark and unforgiving. For my heart, it’s just “ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom,” slave labor, all the time, never-ending night shifts included.
There are no breaks and nothing ever changes. However, despite their monotonous existence and limited life experience, our hearts have much to share.
Here are four things I have learned from my heart, one from each chamber:
1. Appreciate Yourself
The heart is one of our most valuable assets, yet we rarely think about it, appreciate it, or compliment its efforts. My heart works constantly, every second of every day, dropping about 70 little beats a minute.100,000 heartbeats a day, and more than 35 million beats a year. Despite all of this effort, how often do I think, “Wow, I’m really grateful for the work that my heart did today.” Never.
So, if these under-appreciated workhorses can’t get any respect or attention for literally keeping us alive, how can we expect anyone to value, appreciate, or encourage us? We can’t. So we shouldn’t. We cannot rely on others to justify our existence. We have to appreciate ourselves.
2. Do the Work
If my heart takes a vacation, so do I. Forever. Each and every day, my heart puts in the effort. Through blizzards, accidents, setbacks and fear, my heart keeps at it. It doesn’t give up, it doesn’t take a break, and it doesn’t ever quit or nap. Hell, even when it’s resting, it’s working.
It just keeps going, beat by beat, slow and steady. When it comes to doing the work that needs to be done, my heart doesn’t stop. “Make it through,” my heart tells me. “Do the work.”
3. Do What You Were Designed To Do
My heart pumps blood. It doesn’t digest food or think thoughts or make enzymes. It doesn’t smell, hear, or taste, and it never sings songs or sees sunsets. It pumps blood. That is what it was built for, and that is what it is best at doing.
My heart doesn’t distract itself with lesser priorities. Instead, it diligently devotes itself to the work that gives it purpose, and it focuses solely on doing its best at what it does best. What do we do best? What are we here for? Just as our hearts have a purpose, so does each one of us. Follow that purpose, and live it as much as possible.
Do what you were designed to do.
In the middle of a traffic jam, surrounded by honking horns and screaming people, the heart keeps thumping away. Do you hear it? Amidst the chaos of life, engulfed by expectations, deadlines, and disappointment, the heart keeps beating. Can you feel it? Buried deep in our chests, with none of us giving it any credit, concern, or commitment, the heart works hard.
There is honor in that determination. There should be admiration for that diligence. Through near-misses and nonsense, whistles and white noise, the heartbeat remains. We can hear it if we try. Slow down. Close our eyes.
What did I miss? What life lessons has the heart taught you?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Chrissy Tustison / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Nicolas Nova via Flickr