Expanding my heart

sacred heart

Stirrings

A few things stirred my heart this week. First, it was the week of the awful Manchester (England) bombing when many concert goers were killed as a result of a suicide bomber. I remember reading the story on the bus to work and I was compelled to find out more. For this moment in time, I felt like a brother to these people. I wished I could have been there: to hold their hands, to pay my respects, to do whatever was needed. The world was watching. Life went on, but with a heavy heart.

Second, I listened to American Greg Boyle, founder of the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry programme in the world. He spoke to the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 graduating class: “You go from here to dismantle the barriers that exclude, and there’s only one way to do that, and that is to go where the joy is, which is at the margins. For if you stand at the margins, that’s the only way they’ll get erased”. Yes, joy is to be found at the margins: with the homeless, refugees, our marginalised friends. I saw this message as an invitation to fully experience the interconnectedness of our human family in our ordinary lives.

The power of love

Third, I came across psychiatrist Linda Gask who lives with severe depression. When asked about the most effective treatment for her condition, it wasn’t the tablets she’s been taking for years, or her expertise and therapy. “It’s love,” she says, “my husband John and the power of our relationship help me more than antidepressants or therapy. It helps that I matter a great deal to him and he does to me. It’s love, care, talking to him.” This led me to ponder how my giving and receiving of love can bring about a fullness of life. Whether this means chasing after my grandmother with an umbrella when she gets stuck in the heavy showers or holding a kind gaze with my friend, love really does transform us.

Fourth, Pope Francis’ efforts to connect with President Trump this week expanded my heart a little. Not only did he give the president a sculpted olive tree of peace but he also went out of his way to smile and joke with the first lady. He continually goes above and beyond the call to love. Personally, I feel compelled to love evermore, each and every day. There’s always a reason to get up in the morning for there’s always a reason to love. To love better, greater, higher. 

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