Lent- Day 16: Ponderings of the heart.

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 Zoe in 2013. The pout is strong in this one.



Around Zoe’s second birthday, we took her for a check-up at the pediatrician. She wass weighed, measured and given shots. Thankfully, she didn’t scream while receiving the inoculations. She was clearly unhappy, and cried a bit, but it was in a “Hey, that HURTS! Stop it!”- kind of way. When it was done, the doctor instructed us to go down the hall for blood to be drawn to be sent to a lab for tests. This had happened around her first birthday, so it was a surprise.


K held Zoe as the phlebotomist used a tiny needle to prick a vein and squeeze out blood. Zoe, trooper that she is, again didn’t scream, but let out a little cry. K whispered into her ear soothing words, and she fell quiet. Meanwhile, I burst out in a sobbing cry. I grabbed the Kleenex meant for her and tried to wipe the tears that were streaming down my face. 


I tried to calm myself but only cried harder. Her pediatrician happened to walk past at the moment, and sizing up the situation, took me by the arm and led me out into the hall.


“I can’t stand her hurting. It’s breaking my heart. I… I just got this thing…”, and at that point I pulled down the neck of my tee to reveal the permacath that was stuck into the right side of my chest. Her doctor let out a small gasp and quickly said, “Oh, Honey, I had no idea…”. She then leaned over and hugged me. 


Calmed by her hug, I continued my sentence, “I got this catheter placed a few weeks ago and it still hurts. It hurts so much. But I’d rather have ten more of these placed than to have her get stuck with any more needles today.”


Dramatic? Yeah, but honetly felt (and feel) that strongly. Seeing Zoe in pain hurt my heart. When she gets sick, I feel anxious. I hover, wiping her nose, giving her liquids, checking her temperature. Unfortunately, my immunne system is compromised due to being on a steroid, so every time she’s gotten sick, even a cold, I have, too, and it hits me harder. Still, that physical discomfort is nothing compared to how I feel inside when I know she’s hurting… or scared or worried. 


Conversely, when she’s excited, happy or silly, I’m elated. My heart sings. I feel like my heart has done this since her birth.



“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19



As a kid, that verse, and the others like it, always fascinated me. I knew there was great meaning there, but… I didn’t totally get it. 


The theologian Albert Barnes wrote a commentary about it:


Mary kept all these things – All that happened, and all that was said respecting her child. She “remembered” what the angel had said to “her;” what had happened to Elizabeth and to the shepherds – all the extraordinary circumstances which had attended. the birth of her son. Here is a delicate and beautiful expression of the feelings of a mother. A “mother” forgets none of those things which occur respecting her children. Everything they do or suffer – everything that is said of them, is treasured up in her mind; and often she thinks of those things, and anxiously seeks what they may indicate respecting the future character and welfare of her child. Pondered – Weighed. This is the original meaning of the word “weighed.” She kept them; she revolved them; she “weighed” them in her mind, giving to each circumstance its just importance, and anxiously seeking what it might indicate respecting her child. In her heart – In her mind. She “thought” of these things often and anxiously.



As a girl, I asked my mom about Mary’s keeping things in her heart, and she smiled and told me she understood. She also told me, that one day I might, too. She was so right.



Reflection for the day: thank God for having a loving, growing heart.

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