A Transplanted Heart

hard heart

 

There are days I wonder “what’s the point?” Why should I care, why should I try to be compassionate and loving in such a cruel world filled with arrogant disdain and toxic vitriol? The recent political climate has become so ugly, politicians are echoing words of hatred and fear back and forth and we voters are responding by chiming in with more hatred and fear. There are moments I want to run away, simply pack up my bags and relocate to a place of peace, a community where people genuinely care about one another, the environment and the delicate sentient beings given to us to care for in the form of animals.
Where does one escape the insecurities, arrogance and frailty of the human heart?

I thought I did good by changing my focus in life. I thought I was on the right path seeking Creator’s direction in serving humanity with the skills and capabilities I was given. The problem seems to be lately that if you are gentle-hearted, trusting, compassionate or loving— you are labeled as weak, or as a fool. What happened to humanity? Where are our priorities? What happened to our heart?

In the past two years, I have learned that no matter where I travel—I will always be an outsider because it seems people simply do not trust one another enough anymore to allow collaboration and proactive healthy change. Collaboration and the sharing of power and resources requires trust and some vulnerability. Whether it is fortune 500 companies, leadership organizations, nonprofits or academia—people are in a desperate search for accomplishment and success—but what really constitutes success?

I have come to learn that people who live in the barrios, the inner city, affluent communities or on the reservation—are deeply hurting for something so much larger than what society can provide or has prioritized as success. Capitalistic growth models, insane profit and individual success continually scream at us through media or via educational institutions– what is important, the latest, the greatest—that which will give us happiness. Yet—why are we, as the human race more miserable than we have ever been?

I cannot speak for others but I have faced a great deal in my life. I have endured horrendous suffering and circumstances that many would say are “impossible” to ever recover but I still have hope.

This morning, as my eyes opened to a window filled with sunshine and the echoes of birds joyously pronouncing a new day—I was grateful for the sign, there is always tomorrow. The torrential downpour we experienced in central Oregon yesterday was a bit depressing especially if you like to be outdoors. Today I understand that the rain fed the plants, filled and cleaned the streams and nourished the newly planted crops. I was a little down yesterday—sometimes I get like the little cartoon donkey Eeyore and I laugh at my vulnerability but I also am grateful I learn each and every day—I am so very human. Sometimes, I feel that that no matter what I did, no matter what I do or will do—no matter how much I sacrifice, no matter how much I try to share the positive, my compassion or my love for humanity—it will all fall on deaf ears and hard hearts.

Today I recollected there was a time in my life my heart was hard too.
During my undergraduate years at the University of Oregon, I studied all of the major religions and faith perspective even though I enrolled as Political Science major and Ethic Studies minor. I had such a thirst to know. I first enrolled in Pre-Med because I wanted to be a Pediatrician but I could not quite cut the O-Chem and Physics taught by foreign GTF’s who I had a hard time understanding. I was pushy, radical and at –times believed I actually knew everything. Like many young people of my time, I protested everything from demanding divestment of the Krugerrand to demanding doors be opened to those marginalized throughout history. I was bright, articulate but more than anything I was foolishly brave. While my mother wanted me to attend law school—I rebelled even against her. I despised everything and anything that reeked of the establishment. I most especially rebelled against organized religion and believed that individual meditation and discipline could bring forth better character than incessant recitation of profound words altered by man’s understanding and that was (in my eyes) limited. I hated what organized religion coupled with commercialism and profit making (despite the churches nonprofit status) sucked out of the veins of the poor who earnestly believed the church had their best interest in mind. My heart was increasingly hardened to the reality that what people said and promised was not what they did.

People’s behavior influenced me.
Life changed me.
Circumstances changed my heart.

While I was fortunate to break bread and consult with some of the greatest and most prolific leaders of our time—even those instances did not impact me as much as one moment, one time—an experience I will never forget. What did open my eyes and compel me to seek something greater than my own individual concerns was working alongside power-filled people whose hearts had hardened beyond repair or— so I thought. If my heart could be healed–perhaps anyone no matter how hardened could transform too?

There was/is something greater than myself, something greater than this world, something greater than all of the magnificence of the universe that caught hold of my heart and has not let go. Today it is as clear as it was decades ago and I will never ever forget the moment of transformation (that is another story for another day.) What caught a hold of my heart not only changed me—it changed the trajectory of my life. I was no longer concerned about success, power or fame—I could care less whether men found me beautiful or if I could attain the perfect figure to please some or the right degrees to impress others. I was in that moment more concerned about my inner spirit and whether my heart was pure. You may be chuckling at this point—what the heck—who wants a pure heart? You see beloved, pure to me does not mean innocent or without blight—pure to me means genuine and filled with a yearning for spiritual truth not often articulated in sermons, or proclamations or the rhetoric of man. In that moment of seeking–a spirit, an energy, a power so much greater than me—reached inside my heart and transplanted a force that cannot be removed, diluted or crushed even through hardship or the cruelty of human behavior. This new heart compels me to forgive even when I know logically it is the most illogical thing to do. This new heart compels me to serve even when people I love could care less about my genuine intent by spitting in my face or laughing at my efforts. This new heart compels me to have compassion for the homeless beggar who seeks to be seen as a human being or the seemingly successful millionaire who has discovered all of his money and all of his fame has left him feeling empty and undeserving of compassion. In my younger days, despite being vibrant and healthy by the world’s standard—I suffered from heart disease and I was in serious need of surgery or a transplant.

It is by Creator’s grace and the love of the Great Physician—I start each day with a new heart. This morning the birds reminded me that each and every day I must start my day by seeking the hands of the Great Physician to reach deep within my bosom to clean and refresh my heart, to energize a heart sometimes clogged by the weariness of societal impurities, to reignite my commitment to do all I can and to be all I can—to make a difference no matter how minute to some. The truth is I cannot do any of this on my own. I am very human. I am aging day by day, I cannot run to this event or to that fundraiser like I used to but I can do whatever I am able wherever I am planted. There is a force, beloved friends is a melody that whispers to me in the still of the night, comforting my aching heart, this medicine brings me hope even when there seems little to look forward to in this world rapidly transforming because of so many hardened hearts.

Please understand–I am no different than you, I am no better than you, I am no more profound than you—I cannot do this in my own strength. I ask for help each and every day from the great Physician. It is very difficult to keep a pure and genuine heart. It is very difficult to forgive people and to serve with compassion but I believe with all of my new heart it is the only way we can save ourselves, save this planet filled with invaluable communities inhabited with good people seeking what we all seek in life– but who may not have the resources or the tools we have to implement collaborative, positive and proactive change for the greater good of all.

Sometimes I laugh at my foolishness. In my youth– I worried about whether I was beautiful enough intelligent enough or articulate enough and yet I now know that none of those attributes matter at all. I do not care about those material things or societal expectations any more. I want my heart to be beautiful, my intellect to be balanced with wisdom and my words to be blessed by Creator to touch the hearts of others. Daily I pray that the Great Physician will transform—perhaps transplant your heart to become strong and vibrant. I pray that you will have the opportunity to do and to be all you can be. This life is so brief—beloved—some of us have less time than others to make a positive impact, to leave behind a legacy that outlives their brief life. There is not enough time to do all of the many things we can do to change the trajectory of our individual communities, to transform our politically misguided nation and to clean our ailing planet. Thirty years ago, as an arrogant young women I challenged this Great Spirit– this mighty physician, this Creator or all that is mysterious and magnificent to utilize through me Creator’s heart. I sought to know exactly what and how I could be of best service to this world and as the gray hairs proliferate my head—I realize that while that single moment was so unforgettably profound—I must cleanse, renew and reignite the rhythm of my heart each and every day. A new heart, a healthy heart continually matures me, restores me and revitalizes me to serve others with every fiber of my being. For me, the Rising Sun—this is the most important gift I can leave for my sons and grandchildren to be and it is the only gift I can leave that is worth anything of value when I depart this earth.
Always and forever,
Rising Sun

A Transplanted Heart—restored every day by the Great Physician.

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water on you. A new heart I will give you. I will give you a new spirit. I will put my spirit in you.

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