Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. -- Proverbs 4: 23 (NIV)
I am writing this exactly 48 hours before I’m scheduled to have open heart bypass surgery.
The details don’t matter so much, and there are certainly a lot of factors which have contributed to my being in this place and time. However, the truth is this: I haven’t taken care of my heart the way I should have.
This bypass procedure is, if all goes well, a second chance to do things differently, to do better, to be better.
Facing a major event such as this typically prompts thoughts of what if, if only, and puts one’s perspective into laser focus on to what matters most. So it is for me.
As I look back over the span of my life so far -- 54 years of it, in fact -- I am astounded at how many times in my life I would like to be able to do things differently than I did. All of us have those moments, those regrets. No one is immune.
But if I go further back, open the curtain to the past beyond those harsh moments of what-might-have-been, even back before the time I was born, further back into the mists of time than I can imagine, I leap suddenly into the realm of the eternal NOW, where there is nothing but this: Love is there.
Love is all there is. Nothing else.
And in that moment when a little slice of eternity was molded and formed (and in many traditions, this molding and forming was enacted with words . . . spoken words), and the universe we know was brought into being with a huge bang, laced into the fabric of that forming, holding it all together, was a whisper that reached a point of expression in a specific time and place:
“I love you, you matter, you have a purpose.”
And in those words, I was created.
In spite of the flaws, in spite of the failures, the missed opportunities, in spite of the pain, nothing matters but that truth: “I love you, you matter, you have a purpose.”
So, as I look back across the small arc of years that is my life so far, I don’t look back with regret or guilt or pain. I look back with gratitude that in spite of all those things, I am loved.
And, in that awareness, I look forward with hope and faith that each new day, each moment, every moment, brings with it a gift: a chance to do better, make better choices, to focus on what matters most.
To love and be loved.
Love and peace to all . . . love and peace to you from Kodak, Tennessee.