Saturday, February 25, 2017

How Is It ...

If you live long enough, eventually you will get sucked into the world of medical tests which are basically various tortures that cost an immense fortune. I have been lucky to enjoy good health most of my life - knees not included - but recently I had the experience of a heart sonogram. Images of my beating heart were visible on a screen in real time. It was the first time I have seen my own heart. It was dangerously close to a spiritual experience. I immediately considered the cavalier manner in which I have taken my heart for granted all these decades.

It was sobering to see how hard my heart works and to instantly consider the hearts of every living being on the planet. I marveled at the engineering that designed such a tireless, enduring muscle. It commences beating before we even have a brain! As I watched the images of the valves and chambers of my own heart tirelessly fueling my life, I felt a great regret for all the abuses I have committed against it physically and emotionally.

My mother's heartbeat was the first sound I heard in this life. I recalled the thrill hearing the first heartbeats of each of my unborn children. I remembered the times I lay with my ear against my husband's chest, lulled by the booming rhythm of his big heart. I thought of all the times I could feel the mighty pulse of my heart in my temples when working too hard or running or swimming or laughing or scared or mad as hell. Our hearts are merely along for the ride with us - for good or ill.

At some point as the technician was examining each chamber and valve and artery of my wonderful heart, she would switch something then the blood flow appeared in various colors - red, blue and magenta. As the blood entered into the next chamber, the colors mixed dramatically. It appeared as lightning within my heart. Now when I watch an approaching thunderstorm alive with lightning I will certainly recall my own beating heart.

How is it that we forget that our bodies are truly marvels of engineering? How do we forget that our lives are spent on an inexplicable living planet hurtling through infinite space filled with thermonuclear stars boiling light and energy into an endless universe? How do we forget that there is lightning within our own breast?

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