I wonder if they would ‘forensic test’ our hearts in heaven. Maybe there’s a special unit of angels assigned to dust off our hearts for fingerprints and see whose they find in it. Mine has plenty of prints. My personal heroes who touched my life are not only always in my heart but also always in my thoughts…
I visited one of them at the hospital recently. Linda was in a car accident. I brushed away the curtain as I peeked to see her in the hospital bed. My heart sank. Heroes get hurt too, I told myself. She still has on the bangles she loves to wear. I was surprised the medical staff didn’t remove those. That was the first thing I noticed and not the wires and tubes and masks they adorned her with. At 82, the combined impact of the crash, the inflated airbag and tightened seatbelt fractured her now very fragile rib cage. The doctors said she will need to wear a body brace.
But, Linda is like the snow, able to maintain a relevant fraction of her beauty even when she’s fallen down. Even at her lowest she is still able to reflect the beauty of her purpose. She’s down but not defeated. She has so much to cry about but she chose to smile instead. She even managed to crack a few jokes here and there. In moments such as this a smile is attributed a different meaning. Instead of just denoting happy, it now signifies one is strong.
I thought I was there to comfort her. It turned out it was she who comforted me. Experiencing her fighting spirit dissolved all of my worries. There was not a single shred of self-pity in her. In fact, there is something in her steady gaze that told me she is choosing to be okay. There is so much wisdom in her eyes and so much strength in her character. Pain demands to be felt. And the wise say we must experience pain in full – first let it hurt us, then, let it change us. Victors are never exactly the same person when they return from a battle. That’s why I know there will be a new and better Linda when all this is over.
When I asked about the pain she dismissed it and said “This is nothing compared to what Jesus had to go through for us. I am only sharing in His suffering.” I looked at her lying there, weak and motionless, but teaching me in profound ways. We must take up our cross not just put up with it. Love transforms our suffering into a sacrifice. Only love can do that. Stay. Hold on. Fight. Begin again. It’s true that what we do matters, but why we do it matters even more.