When I think about my life, about my days, I have several heart-stopping moments throughout them – moments where I’m like, “Here we go … palpitations at full force!” But seconds later, the current disaster-at-hand is over, and just like that, things carry on. Within a matter of minutes, the other day, my little heart was in over-drive, just to keep things calm before we rushed into our regular nightly pattern of chaotic-normalcy. First, I got my kids started on homework. Then, I caught the dog licking the clean dishes in the dishwasher (throb, throb). Next, my daughter spilled her water WAY too close to my work documents, and as I scrambled for paper towel (which ran out, of course) my son proceeded to tell me, “Hurry mom, it’s dripping!” (Pound, pound).
Yesterday was no less of a miniature heart-workout. My son had a soccer game, and in our haste to leave, I asked my kids if they needed to go to the bathroom instead of insisting upon it! Rookie mistake, and I don’t even have the excuse of being a rookie! Of course, things were fine, as fine as they can be when you’re trudging onto a muddy field at 8:00 in the morning with sideways, freezing drizzle, blustering, cheek-chapping wind and a five-year-old girl who wants nothing to do with being her brother’s little cheerleader, (thump, thump). About twenty minutes in, I put my precious whiner in the car with a movie, removing her boots to stimulate some circulation back into her frozen piggy-toes! Tromping back out onto the field to watch my son, I had a few minutes of uninterrupted watch-time before she was back, running across the field in tears, “Mommy, I have to pee!!!!” (Heart pounding once more!).
Disgustingly, the only option here was to take her to the port-o-potty. Now some of you might think I’m being a tad dramatic here, but I’m not, because my daughter, in her desperate state of near-accident, was only wearing SOCKS at this point! (Bump, bump, bump, bump.) At this critical juncture, I had a decision to make, either run back to the car to grab her boots, whereby she will most-likely not be able to hold it and pee her pants, or, go to the potty in socks. You guessed it. Option B. This was a flat-line moment in my rhythm, where I’m pretty sure a part of my germ-a-phobic heart stopped completely. I won’t even relive the details; whatever you imagine, it was ten times worse.
So obviously, I’m feeling a little bit sorry for myself here, and my poor little heart. But then, there are real EKG moments. Moments that don’t stop your heart, but send it out in an erratic line of spiked peaks it wasn’t designed to handle. One of the closest people to me in the entire world had a baby boy on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he was rushed to the children’s hospital. Only twenty-two hours after delivering a baby, my friend was released (in a state somewhere between bewilderment and delirium) to be beside her baby in another hospital bed. The band Switchfoot put things into perspective when they sang, “You feel your heartbeat loudest when it’s breaking.” And they were right, that is the ultimate heart-workout. The kind where you feel it fracture just a bit at the circumstances it cannot make sense of. He is okay. Not more, not less. She is okay, but measuring her heart by the beat of his. And I? I am re-evaluating what it is that gets my blood pressure fluctuating, because suddenly none of the reasons I talked about before seem to amount to anything at all.
It is SO easy to get caught up in it all, so easy to get lost in the mundane “stress-drills” of the day. But man, this week has taught me a thing or two about myself, and the heart I want to have. I want my pulse to be measured by the peace I help others feel, instead of it being reactionary to the ticking of a clock, or the pressure of commitments.
What gets your heart going? Who is it beating for? If the answers to those questions aren’t the ones you wish they were, know that you’re not alone and I’m changing my heart’s current workout as well. I hope your EKG is steady, and your days and ways are measured with grace.