The month of February offers much to celebrate. It is the month where love is illustrious, it is Black History month, and it is recognized by the Heart Association as American Heart Month. In thought and spirit, it declares a time of pure and generous succor. Elucidating comfort to those who may have good satisfying love(s), who may be searching for love, and who have lost love or loved ones. A month where the living souls of ancestors who suffered so greatly, acknowledge the many achievements they have made, displayed through current-day lived experiences or perhaps their continuous work to end modern-day injustices. It is a time to remember the one organ within. The one making all this possible. It’s a time to feel the beats.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter…
In 1906, a study performed by Nobel Laureate Sir Charles S. Sherrington discussed the concept of feeling the heart beat as well as being conscious or subconscious of other internal sensations in the body. In earlier writings, he coined this as the ‘material me’ (Sherrington, 1900). In contemporary processing, this is known as interoception. In layman’s terms, it simple means that the brain is able to determine the meaning of specific signals sent to one or numerous functioning areas. Interoception provides many cues like when to eat, sleep, and etc. It also trickles into our emotions, thoughts, and general perceptions of ourselves and the world around us.
Research specifically on the heartbeat and its link to the brain is fascinating, and could help to diagnose and treat many mental health issues. However, in one context of what the month of February represents, that of love, gentle and steady heart beats can often be a leading to this beautiful experience. Love gives, cares, and does not harm. To appreciate all of these aspects, let’s remember to apply the necessary steps to keep our hearts strong as long as intended.
Generalizing love at a young age was freeing for me. When the song Love Hurts by Nazareth entered the airways of the one radio station in my home country of Belize, it also immediately and magically appeared in our family home. I suppose my dad who worked on an import/export ship made this possible. My sister and I had the latest and greatest of all things. My mom loves music and during this time she was richly supplied with 8-Tracks of Country, R & B, Rock & Roll, Classical, Meringue’, and so much more. Our gold Ford station wagon used to be one hub for good music as she drove us around with the windows down to take in the gentle breezes of the Caribbean Sea. Hair on neatly stacked rollers allowed soft breezes to roll over her head, portraying her own personal hair dryer. She made sure my hair was stacked too. Our life was eclectic from all fronts. As we drove near the sea, I can still hear the whole country of Belize singing that song. With elements of melancholy, the natives sung it as we slowly passed by. This state of being hung over the spots the practicing singers would inhabit. Sigh… 🙂
Though quite young at the time, the romantic I was back then and even now, could never understand why love should hurt. I mean, I know it was just a simple song, but it was quite impactful to those exposed to its tunes. I know, I know…some of you are saying its not that serious Charlotte. I’m aware of this too, and I get it! Yet, speaking from the granular levels of interpretation, I was really perplexed. My spiritual upbringing and deep faith were lifesavers from that song in those days. I would joyfully say that reading great classics such as Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Love and Friendships, and so many others, likewise, spared me from all that. Although I listened and observed with eyes wide open, I knew back then that loving Christ never hurts. I also made up my mind then that I would become a Pallotin Nun. This was my destiny. As a 9 year old young woman, serving God in this way, was all I could think of.
Migration to the United States (US) changed this decision. Yet, I still held on to the notion that Love should never hurt. And, followed the reserve nature of the nuns who taught me with such grace, determination, and discipline. I’m still in awe of their kindness. Sister Rosalyn, my biology and chemistry teacher, I’ll never forget her. In the US, I finished high school, entered college, married, had my only child, and later divorced. There was much healing from this juncture of separation in my life. Nonetheless, I never allowed myself to hurt so much that I lost my identity in Jesus Christ. He was my savior, my neighbor, my friend. As he still is right now. Right here at this very moment. I’m never stripped of divine ideals. I am focused and ready to move through emotional pain, disappointments, and my personal longings, with only Him by my side.
As the merciful Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) who helped the wounded Jew on the rough road between Jerusalem and Jericho, my distresses are noticed and diminished through Christ Jesus. He died and was resurrected to shield the nakedness of my insecurities, impatience, and that imposter syndrome. You know, the syndrome that tells me I am not good enough. The one that tells you too! The same one created by the thief and destroyer, who tries to bring wrath and confusion to an otherwise beautiful life. The one who tries…this dark being’s foolishness is blatant.
Christ, my shield, like the compassionate Samaritan, binds my wounds (heart-centered and physical), and begins the healing process with the salve of his sweet heart. He keeps me safe as he continuously promises me he will see me again. He is quick and readily awaits me as the ultimate physician to set everything into place before hurt encompasses every cell of my body. Whatever anguish makes room in my inn, it disappears, through the power of his love. He provides a blended simplicity and profound depth of deliverance to me each day.
I want so much to go deeper on this subject. Perhaps soon 🙂 But for now, I know for sure…
His kind of love, truly never hurts.
My heart beats…pitter-patter, pitter-patter
Father, your unswerving love surrounds me. I am thankful that I don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to know this. You show me who you are every day. You keep me in consciousness of my actions, thoughts, and deeds. Your help is indispensable. Your indebted daughter, Charlotte
Listen to me read this prayer:
Source: Sherrington, C. S. (1900). Text-book of physiology (ed. Schäfer, E. A.) 920–1001. Edinburgh, UK: Pentland