Here we are, you and I, intricately, intrinsically, intimately connected. We have been through a lot together, haven’t we? Eighty and a half years of a lot—no, longer, as you began beating when I still had more than 7 months before being born.
You have beaten faithfully every minute since you began. You gave the early childhood doctor a second listen when you sounded a murmur, didn’t you! But he determined it was congenital, mild, sternly admonishing me not to use it as an excuse to get out of Phys Ed. As I approached adulthood, your murmur became silent.
A good strong heart you were, a strong steady heartbeat pumping healthy blood that made it possible for me to outrun other girls and most boys and climb trees and boulders, hike, pick blueberries, swim, bicycle. Come through tonsillectomy under ether at age 6. Carry armloads of library books home, some for my mother when her injured back kept her confined. Bear babies myself and give birth multiple times. Nurse, lift them, climb stairs, carry laundry and groceries, move furniture, walk everywhere.
I know you suffered with me in those years– decades –of strife, rejection—heartbreak. Did you break? But you kept beating, steady as ever, though you felt everything I did. Loss of good sleep, the dashing of dreams, loss of security, loss of love, overwork, spiritual opposition, loss of health.
So a year ago when you developed a limp, I thought of how very long you had been working to keep me alive, and gave thanks for you. I listened to the emergency room doctors, nurses, and technicians and learned that the name of your limp is atrial fibrillation. Learned what might cause it, and what medications could prevent a fatal blood clot inside your muscle, and what strengthen again your beat and keep it from speeding.
I have been well. I see that you are well, albeit the slight limp is detectable some days. At first returning home I was weak, but quickly regained what for me is normal energy. I am tolerating the new medications well, save perhaps for some added tiredness late day. It is hard to distinguish among other conditions and their medicines. Oh yes, and those accumulated 80 years.
As long as you beat well, or as well as you can, I will maintain life, aside from any yet-to-be-seen ailments. Surely the transcendent and earthy love I share with John now is health-giving and life-giving for both me and you.
Thus you and I continue intricately bound up together, until such time that we do necessarily part: you to rest at last and return to dust, and I to resurrected new life with Christ. I wanted you to hear while we are still together that I do not take you for granted but give thanks to our Creator God for you. I think you are brave, Heart.
Your warm host and grateful beneficiary,