all of the selves we Have ever been
“It requires courage to have a change of heart.”
This morning I found that quote in a little notebook I refer to in times of prayer and reflection.
During this shelter-in-place time, I don’t change my clothes much, but I seem to have a change of heart every couple of hours. Perhaps all of us in this boat are more courageous than we realize.
My daily wardrobe is sweatpants. I have three identical pairs, and except for the hours I am doing the laundry, my daily wardrobe remains the same. Not much changes.
But my heart…
What changes my heart with such frequency?
In the morning, I pull up to the drive-through window for a small order. It is a meager contribution to the economy. A young man leans out the window, hands me my food, and says, “It’s on me today. Take care of yourself.” My heart swells. I need a 3X t-shirt to accommodate the gratitude I feel from the kindness of this stranger.
The governor comes on television at 2 PM for his daily news conference. He addresses the ranks. Our leader provides his army of hearts with armor and a battle plan. Properly attired, mine is a courageous and confident heart.
I watch the evening news and see emergency rooms bursting with the sick and dying. Hospital workers and first responders fill every square inch of space with their hustle and bustle. Some lay prostrate on the ground outside the ER doors. Others weep on park benches. Yet, they carry on. My heart is broken. It needs a cast. Will it ever mend?
I see protesters on the streets and on the lawn of the state house. These people are armed and angry, yelling, and saying hateful things. I am bewildered. And frightened. I can feel my heart withering. It needs an oxygen mask.
I watch a fundraising concert on television. Through the wonders of modern technology, the biggest names in entertainment sing to me from their homes. It is simple, and elegant. My heart shifts in my chest. I might need a special mesh screen to hold my heart in place so moved am I by the beauty of the performances and the talent and generosity of the participants.
I turn on the computer and find my email inbox full. The emails come with attachments and YouTube links. My friends and colleagues are thinking of me. The messages they send are filled with clever, funny, charming, touching, and sometimes laugh-out-loud ridiculous jokes, stories, songs, dances, and interviews. My heart is comforted; these contacts are vacation beachwear for my overworked heart.
I have been lounging in my sweatpants for weeks. The only iron I’ve been pumping is the irony of being perpetually dressed for a workout while I stretch out on the couch. Now I realize that I am exhausted. My heart has been running a marathon.