On February 24, 1948, one of the most unusual operations in medical history took place in Ohio State University at the department of surgery research. A stony sheath was removed from around the heart of 30 year old Harry Besharra. As a boy, he was shot accidentally by a friend with a .22 rifle and the bullet remained lodged in his heart.
The good news – the bullet didn’t kill him. The bad news – a lime deposit started to slowly form over his heart strangling the life out this vital organ. In surgery, the doctor began the procedure by separating Harry’s ribs and then moving the left lung to the side. Next he peeled off the stony coating around the heart just like you would peel an orange.
What happened next was truly amazing! Immediately the pressure on the heart was reduced and it started to expand and pump as normal. When Harry awoke from surgery, he was asked how he felt and his response was, “I feel a 1000% better already!”
There’s a life lesson in this story. One I’m still learning!
When we experience accidents and incidents in our lives – our hearts over time can form a hard protective coating as a result of the hurt. When that happens, life starts to get choked out of our souls!
I feel the downward pull even now. This week I went for a short walk to the end of the street and back which is definitely progress. But for some reason, on my way back I could feel my heart tighten up and my mind struggle with the awkwardness and challenge of walking. For a moment in time, I resented the limits of my body and felt a tinge of disappointment in each step.
During this moment of awareness, I longed for the good old days when I could walk and run without thinking for as long as I liked. With those days long gone I found myself whispering to myself, “Why did this have to happen?”
The thought didn’t last long or go very deep because I turned my thoughts to what I`m thankful for and the progress I have made and the life I do enjoy. It was a reminder as I think back on that incident to stay alert to the triggers in my inner world that could send me down the slippery slope of resentment and hard heartedness.
The reality is – when you experiences loss, hurt, and disappointment – deposits of potentially toxic metal land into the softness of our hearts.
The question is:
- Do we allow this “metal” to settle into our souls where it’s nursed and coddled and held onto?
If we do, it starts to form a crust around our soul, chokes out our joy, diminishes our passion, and steals our lives.
Hard circumstances and hurts unexamined
and unprocessed in a healthy way tend to calcify
and form a crusty casing around our hearts.
Those lime deposits formed around our hearts go by other names: unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and a victim mindset.
What does heart surgery look like?
- Acknowledge your hurt (leave the land of denial)
- Admit you need it removed (it is sucking the life out of you!)
- Adopt a hopeful attitude (believe healing is possible and speak it out)
- Add up the cost and agree to pay the price (in time, in struggle, in vulnerability)
- Agree to have others help you (friends, family, God, counselors, mentors, etc.)
- Adapt the approach to fit your situation (go as shallow or as deep as necessary)
- Adjust your life – your thoughts, habits, attitudes, behaviors so you can live free
- Announce to yourself you are letting go of the hurts to pursue freedom
The greatest battles of life are fought out every day
in the silent chambers of our own heart. (Stephen Covey)
There is no cookie cutter approach to keeping your heart clear from calluses formed as a result of hurt and injury. It’s 832 days since our accident and I still feel from time to time a little residue in my soul from the impact of the fall. It’s a journey that continues but my resolve is to live free and do what it takes to remove any build up of toxic residue and those mineral deposits that suck the life out of my soul.
How free is your heart?
What do you do to process your hurt and pain?
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