2.14.2013

to have a happy heart.



01.28.13 was a monday.
01.29.13 was a tuesday.

the difference between the two:  
the condition of my heart.



You see, it's been a very hard year for me in a lot of aspects. To sum it up, I have lot of loose ends. A lot of "If I..., then..." statements and "What if's" are in my life right now and I feel many need to be completed. BUT a lot of it is out of my control. For someone who loves to be able to have a plan and know what's going on her life, it's been way way way way difficult.
January 28th started out with a headache of a commute in to work (thanks to 6+ inches of snow, try 90 minutes instead of the usual 15). Then a few phone calls. Then a slip on the ice walking into work and getting a massive bruise on my leg. Then a bunch of tears. Then anger. Then a massive migraine that didn’t go away the entire day. Then talking with my mom and calling Holly while I drove around Davis County, getting even more angry. Letting that anger simmer even more as I thought of every wrong that has happened to me in the past little while, everything that is not completed in my life right now, and every inadequacy I have. Falling asleep in front of the fireplace, being woken up, and feeling anger that it wasn't the next day already. I started to work on some homework some more and I contemplated the state of my heart. I felt completely yucky and I hated how I had been acting all day. I worked on homework until late, then I had awful nightmares all night and kept waking up, feeling so awful about my day still.
January 29th started out with a very early commute in the snow, with a prayer. I made it to class on time; we talked about playing in therapy (how to chose toys, what to do with your pediatric clients, etc). Then I left class to get some hot chocolate on this cold, snowy day. The man at Starbucks was super nice as he made my tall salted caramel hot chocolate with whipped cream.  And then I spent a while driving around, thinking, and watching the beautiful snow fall along the quiet streets of the neighborhoods I was in. As I was driving, "In My Life/A Heart Full of Love" came on quietly through my speakers.  First, I have always loved that song (and Eddie Redmayne's voice=angelic...amirightoramiright?!) and second, I couldn't help thinking, "Wow, today, my heart is filled with love. I feel so grateful for the little things today." I realized that I need to let go of what I can't control and control the state of my heart. I had an instant smile on my face and my day seemed to get even better--going to institute, seeing Jessi and talking to her while we were stuck in traffic on campus, talking to Laura on the phone (my old YW president) in between classes, listening to good music, good classes, and then coming home to a good meal. I loved talking to my mom while watching Downton Abbey and then getting some much needed sleep.
Since then, I have been striving to have "a heart full of love" or
Though I can't say I've had the best days since then, I have tried to look for something good in each day. I have tried to do this always, but I’ve been more aware of it. I never want my heart to be in that dark, dismal place like it was on January 28th, if I can do everything in my power to help it. The Sunday after those two days of stark contrast, we had a lesson in Relief Society about having a “mighty change of heart” and how to maintain that change of heart. Here is an excerpt from the talk that was quoted throughout the lesson:
"In December 1967 the first successful heart transplant was performed in Cape Town, South Africa. The dying man’s diseased heart was removed, and a healthy heart from a deceased donor was sewn in its place. Since then, over 75,000 heart transplants have been performed worldwide.
In each heart transplant recipient, the patient’s own body recognizes the new, lifesaving heart as “foreign” and begins to attack it. Left unchecked, the body’s natural response will reject the new heart, and the recipient will die. Medicines can suppress this natural response, but the medications must be taken daily and with exactness. Furthermore, the condition of the new heart must be monitored. Occasional heart biopsies are performed wherein small pieces of heart tissue are removed and then examined under a microscope. When signs of rejection are found, medications are adjusted. If the rejection process is detected early enough, death can be averted.
Surprisingly, some patients become casual with their transplanted hearts. They skip their medicines here and there and obtain the needed follow-up less frequently than they should. They think that because they feel good, all is well. Too often this shortsighted attitude puts the patients at risk and shortens their lives.
A heart transplant can prolong life for years for people who would otherwise die from heart failure. But it is not “the ultimate operation,” as Time magazine called it in 1967.  The ultimate operation is not a physical but a spiritual “mighty change” of heart. 
...Indeed, equal, if not greater, care must be taken with a spiritually changed heart than with a physically transplanted heart if we are to endure to the end."
To me, the last four lines are so profound and true. In our world of advanced medicine, many diseases that plague us can be prevented or maintained through regimens of exercise, healthy diets, medicines, and other remedies. And if those things don’t work, treatments and surgeries are constantly being renovated and developed to repair our bodies. If that much maintenance and thought were put into the well-being of our souls and hearts, maybe some of the physical things would resolve themselves as well.
My dad often talks about this with us, how he believes that our physical hearts can be affected by the cankering emotions of hate, anger, and unwillingness to forgive. He tells us [my siblings and me] all the time, "I hope that you guys will always love each other and never hold grudges. It takes too much of a toll on you--mentally, emotionally, and spiritually." 
Love is an emotion that we need to strive for in our lives always, because it unlocks the door to allow the greatest happiness in.
Thinking about it some more, I would say there are two main things that can help find and maintain a happy heart. 
1. RECOGNIZING THE LITTLE THINGS.
It is amazing to me how much joy a simple thing can bring into our lives--a handwritten note, a simple thank you, a smile, a hug, a treat (in my case, especially a frozen hot chocolate or a black & white cookie), a five minute phone call, a text, a sunrise, a sunset, a beautiful landscape, being with friends and family, seeing and doing acts of service. We live in a beautiful world with beautiful people. My mom is really good at pointing this out; she is always finding joy in the little things. Everything around us is a LOVE NOTE. Next time you have a humdrum day, look to even the littlest of things and recognize the love they can bring into your life.
2. REMEMBERING YOU ARE LOVED.
As children, I think we had a lot of doubts about love, whether we knew it or not. I think because it is a big, all encompassing concept for us to grasp at times. For example, remember when you'd have a little temper tantrum and then you'd say to one of your parents or siblings, "You don't love me anymore!"? Don't be ashamed, we all had those moments. As we became older and tested it out through many good and bad experiences, we all come to know that no matter what and even if it isn't always expressed verbally, we have people in our lives (family, friends, neighbors) who love us. Unconditionally and through all times. That knowledge comes quietly, I think often through a feeling that is just as small and quiet. That's what makes it so hard to remember at times, but if you can carry that knowledge with you, you can always have a happy heart. A few nights ago, "Miracles Happen" by Myra (yeah, the song from The Princess Diaries) started playing as I had my music on shuffle while I was studying [and then I remembered how awesome it is and I listened to it about 50 times in a row]. As cheesy as the song is and with this post on my mind, I thought, "Love IS a miracle that takes A LOT of believing in." Not only romantic love, but the love it takes to forgive, the love it takes to reach out to others, the love it takes to move on after disappointments, the love it takes to look beyond and into someone's heart, and most importantly, believing in the love of someone who has a greater plan for you--a loving Heavenly Father. 
"Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you. 
God does not look on the outward appearance.  I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us."

--Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Love of God"

Even if you don't believe in God, I know that He loves you. I have been lucky enough to feel that and know that about others as well as myself. Through thick and thin, He has been there to help me know I'm loved and that He loves all of us. There is always someone in our lives that loves us, a Heavenly Father, a family member, a friend, a spouse, someone and that knowledge is one of the most powerful catalysts in making a wonderful life and having a happy heart.
  With that knowledge and by recognizing the little things, 
I think we can easily try to always have a happy heart.



In closing, I just want to let you all know I am grateful for all of the wonderful ladies who have participated in this series and to all of you who have been reading. I love this time of year and talking about love. It has been so very fun to get to know each one of these ladies at a new level through their posts, even some of my very best friends. I have also loved reading comments as well as talking to people in real life about these posts and getting to discuss things we'd never thought of before when it came to love. 
I love Valentine's Day for this very reason--the love we share with each other at this time of year--and I hope we can be givers and recipients of love always. In a perfect world, every day would be Valentine's Day, filled with sweets, pink and hearts, words and actions of love, and...

picasion.com
 some "foot popping" every now and again?
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
I hope you'll remember you are loved and recognize the little love notes
 in every single day.

7 comments:

  1. yes. yes. yes. yes. yes. love this, love you. thank you for the perfect post to sum up 14 days of love!

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  2. This is so important! Love you and Happy Valentines Day!

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  3. love it so so much. you are amazing. thanks for sharing so much love this month.

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  4. I LOVE THIS!! Such pretty pictures too. I love them!

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  5. I love this so much. You are so adorable. Thank you for letting me be apart of this :)

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  6. You're such a beautiful person, Catherine. Thank you so much for sharing and for setting up and organizing this event! I love this post!

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  7. Hey girl,

    Your valentine pictures are perfectly adorable and your classic beauty shines through as I'm sure it does everyday! I enjoy your blog oh so much it is always such a delight to read. Please don't ever stop writing :)) <3333

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Thanks for making my day!

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