Everyday Spirituality

Archive for May, 2012

Grafted to My Heart

In spite of how much knowledge we believe we have acquired there is so much we have yet to learn about our own physical bodies. There are so many theories circulating especially about the heart. So I am going to add my own heart theory.

This theory has been circulating through my mind for some time now. I truly believe that when you make the choice to love another person that over time the very makeup of your heart cells is changed.

Now to be clear I am not talking about the love you have for your spouse. This is my one sentence disclaimer.

Loving another person calls your very being to a higher level. I believe with the passage of time as your love for the other person grows you begin to change. With every passing year you gain more understanding and love for the person. The more you are with the person the more you share; the deeper the understanding. Gradually your heart begins to change in response to this love.

I am not talking about the feelings of being in love here; I am talking about the genuine love which comes from God’s commandment to love one another.

There is a visual I keep getting of little minute pieces of the one you love being sprinkled into your cells invigorating them, nourishing them if you will. Love really is good for us. Love keeps us physically healthier.

Certainly the love for God keeps us spiritually healthy. So why wouldn’t we reap physical benefits from loving another human being. We were created to love one another.

Any way back to my vision of the cells in my body…what if as you learn to love another person more and more with time little pieces of their essence take up residence in you and become part of who you physically are as a person. (Forgive me for that terrible run on sentence…) In this manner they would really be with you forever.

When you have loved someone for a long time after they die the parts of them in your cells do not die along with their physical body. This presence is more than a vivid memory of who they were this is a part of your heart.

You carry a part of them with you wherever you go. They have become grafted to your own person. The grafting of plants is very common. I think we can experience a grafting of the spirit of another person.

Once this grafting is firmly connected in the heart it is part of the cell structure.

When this happens you are overheard making comments like, ‘I felt her presence with me’ or ‘she was leading me to _______’. Once you have someone grafted onto your heart they are there as long as your heart has the life giving blood rushing through the veins and arteries.

There are numerous references to the heart in the Bible. The very act of praying comes from the heart. Prayer the raising of one’s mind and heart to God. The heart is the dwelling place where God resides. The heart is our hidden center. The heart is what we honor with our decisions. The heart is the place of truth. The heart is where we first make a decision.

If the heart is where we encounter God and live in relation with him; to me it follows that the heart must also be where we are in relation with all those we love deeply.

Whether or not my little heart theory is correct does not really matter…What matters is how you love another person and how that love gets grafted onto your heart. What matters is how this love changes the very essence of your cells as they are changed to include the other person’s love for you.

Your love for one another changes not only your heart, but the other person’s heart too. You exchange cell grafts. Once you love another person you are never exactly the same ever again.

The love God has for us certainly changed us for all eternity. “For God so loved the world” John 3:16

When Jesus says I will be with you always until the end of time it is precisely because his love has changed our hearts. God is love and he is in our hearts.

As with any other graft you must care for this gift of love.

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Buying Green Beans

Last week I was grocery shopping and spied the fresh green beans. As I was grabbing handfuls and trying to stuff them into the plastic bag I had a flashback of another green bean shopping trip.

My friend and I were preparing to cook for one of the many retreats she volunteered us to do. We would always have fun so I really did not mind.

On this particular day the beans were so beautiful she decided we should but the whole case. Now you have to understand that she had years before organized a vegetable co-op. So this was not unusual for us to be shopping together to purchase larger than average quantities of produce.

Well the poor guy at the grocery store was a bit awe struck when she asked him to bring out a whole fresh box of green beabs from the back. Later in the kitchen at the retreat center we carefully picked and sorted the beans together laughing and talking.

If you have ever been part of a cook team for a retreat; the clergy usually find their way into the kitchen…by instinct they know who to get in good with…that’s right….the cook’s.

So as we are working on the beans in walks father with eyes wide telling us how much he enjoyed the teeny tiny beans. Well we might have discarded those tiny guys, but instead we saved him a full dish. He even wanted them raw just as they were hanging on the vine.

Who am I trying to fool here?

I am really not writing just for the sake of preserving a Green Bean story; I am really writing to preserve yet another precious memory that I want to keep. A fond memory…that is just another reminder of her spirit…no one actually cares about buying green beans. No one cares unless you think it is the last time you will ‘buy green beans’ with a friend.

The whole book of the Acts of the Apostles was written in order to preserve the workings of the spirit in the early church. And so we record and journal about those events which hold a special place in our hearts.

While I do not have strong conversion stories to share I do have simple little stories like buying Green Beans together.

The clergy, ‘green bean lover’ has also since passed away to be home with the Lord.

Maybe there are Green Beans in heaven beyond our wildest imagination.

Where are Your Scars?

Just before Christmas I tripped on the sidewalk coming back from the mailbox. Well of course as I am trying to pick myself up from the ground I am also looking around to see if my neighbors saw my tumble. I scratched my glasses, cracked a front tooth and I sliced both of my knees.

Why am I writing about this now? This happened almost exactly four months ago and my knees still have very visible ugly scars. I do not know of these will ever completely disappear. Whenever I bathe or shave my legs I am reminded of the day I tripped on the sidewalk.

I feel the same way about losing my friend only there is not just one scar on my knee. There is this scar that you cannot see with the naked eye, but yet you know it is there. A scar on the skin gradually gets lighter in color…it becomes less sensitive, but it is still there. A scar on the skin loses some of its sensitivity.

Death is like a scar on your heart. At first it is very sensitive and painful,

but gradually the pain lessens.

 Instead of associating the scar on your skin with the cause; the scar of the heart is associated with those things you miss most about the person…things you did together…things that were shared…things that were said…

 There seems to always be something that reminds you of the person…

it is like a scar that never goes away.

I know that there will always be something that reminds me of her. Someday these memories will come to be associated with happy memories. Someday I will look at the scars on my knees and not remember the details of the day I tripped on the sidewalk.

 I look forward to the days of happy memories free of any the pain of loss.

Scars of the heart will eventually soften, but they will forever be a part of who I am.