During the years that I was working before this change, I used to envy women who worked part time or stayed home full time. On lunch hours I'd drive past the mall and marvel that there were people who could actually take the afternoon to go shopping or to the gym. What a luxury! But once settled in school, between classes and homework, I actually found a little bit of time for recreation. I decided to see what it was like to spend a sunny afternoon by the pool at our fitness facility. After swimming a few laps I got out and tried sitting in lounge chair and reading. But I was still so keyed up and feeling guilty for being unproductive that I couldn't enjoy myself, so I gathered up my towel and sunscreen and headed for the showers; thinking I'd go home and work in the yard. You know--do something worthwhile.
All of a sudden my heart started to do funny things. After a few normal beats it would pause for what seemed like an eternity, and then beat madly to catch up. Terrified, I pulled my shorts and shirt over my still-wet swimsuit and drove like Jehu to to the doctor's office. He did all of the right tests, the halter monitor, the echo cardiogram, the treadmill stress test, and I'm sure other things that I've forgotten about. He said I was okay, in spite of the fact that my heart continued to flip and flop. If I wanted to, he advised, I could go on anxiety medicine to calm my frayed nerves and regulate my heart at the same time. I declined.
Instead I called a minister friend to pray for me. She felt strongly that all of my problems stemmed from years of stress, and counseled me to take some time to rest. So I did. Gradually, the heart began beating normally and all of the nervous energy I was carrying about in my body dissipated. Since that time, I'm not afraid for my heart anymore; but I do tend to keep and eye on it.
I've learned a little bit about my body since then. My heart doesn't appreciate caffeine or super hot showers. And it lets me know when I'm not getting proper rest. Occasionally it will do a warning thumpety-thump if I break those 3 little rules. When that happens, I usually pause, put my finger on a pulse point, and monitor the beats for a couple of minutes.
So the other night in bed, when I felt that quirky little thumpety-thump, I just lay there quietly and felt my pulse. One little hiccup. then it was normal again. It was so quiet I could actually hear it beating.
A quiet realization came over me. I thought..."How wonderous is my heart! Listen to it; thumpthump...thumpthump...thumpthump. So dutiful and faithful to it's purpose; responding to electrical impulses that I have absolutely no control over. None. The One who set the axis of the earth and calls the stars by name...He's keeping track of my heartbeats. He knows the exact number of times that my heart will beat...and He knows the day and hour that it will stop."
And the understanding that my heart, the blood circulating through my veins, each breath I draw; all happening because of divine intention...flooded me with gratitude and peace. And I slept.
And as I slept, my heart went thumpthump...thumpthump...thumpthump...thumpthump...thumpthump...
Friends, I know you are talented and capable and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But sometimes it's good to know that we don't have be in control of everything. Tonight before you go to sleep, feel your pulse and listen to your heart beating. You are here because of divine intention. Listen to God's intention for you...thumpthump, thumpthump, thumpthump. Rest in that knowledge. Be at peace.