This I Believe

Karen - Vista, California
Entered on February 13, 2007

I believe in the boundless capacity of the human heart. A never ceasing pumping machine, the heart is extremely efficient. Just as the heart muscle contracts and expands 70 to 80 times a minute without conscious effort, the heart is considered the source of our emotions and personality attributes. There is no limit to the quantity of love the human heart can hold. Each emotion and feeling we experience contributes to our character. Not surprisingly, over fifty percent of heart transplant patients have an overt notion of acquiring some of their donor’s personality characteristics.

A heart doesn’t care if it is rich or poor, educated, illiterate, clever or dull. If a person lacks kindness and feelings, they are called heartless. What causes heartlessness? Is it genetic? It is learned? What impulses make a person kill an animal or another human being? Look at the example of Bonnie and Clyde. Clyde Burrow was raised in poverty and it was written “anger dwelt in his heart”. Known as “Robin Hood” of the poor, he and Bonnie never worried about anything but each other on their killing rampage in the 1930’s. Did Clyde have an evil heart?

The heart is big enough to absorb the pain of a love spurned, the death of a spouse, a child, parent or dear friend. When we feel our heart can stand no more pain or grief, we awake at a future time and realize our suffering has lessened and made way to hope. A good friend of mine recently lost her husband suddenly after thirty years of marriage. She confided she had no reason to live without him. Several months later, as she begins her recovery, her grief has been replaced by a dull ache.

My heart’s recording chamber holds a treasure chest of unlimited memories and lessons learned. Childhood pleasures of pleasant schooldays, athletic activities and adventures with my family, best friend and dog Rags, warm my heart. When I married, my heart filled with love for my spouse. The birth of a first child filled me with joy, devotion and sentimentality. Watching my daughter sleep in my arms, take her first steps, and move on to school filled my heart with pride. I found I had space to love a second and third child just as much as the first. When my grandchildren were born, I discovered there was no end to my love for them and my heart swells with delight when they are near.

The simple things in life warm the chambers of my heart—God’s sunsets, the beauty of a flower or peaceful place. Recognizing God’s miracles and healing from breast cancer fill my grateful heart with thanksgiving.

The physical and emotional heart is amazingly simple yet equally complex. It evolves as we grow from birth to death. If we do our job correctly, we will pass our values to new generations though the actions of our heart. Yes, I do believe in the boundless capacity of the human heart!