I want to tell you a story about the heart; Catherine Louise Strubel’s heart.
Did you know that the average heart beats 80 times per minute? That means the heart — on average — beats 4,800 times/hour; 115,200 times/day; 42,048,000 beats/yr; If you live to be 89 years old, your heart would beat 3.74 billion times.
That is how the heart functions, technically. But that’s not how the heart really works, is it? We recognize the power of our hearts when it aches, skips a beat and leaves us short of breath in joy or fear. The heart is a feeling, not a sterile number that operates on the concurrence of a counter.
Did your heart beat faster when you had your first kiss? How about your first rollercoaster ride? When you said “I do” or “I love you?” The first time you held your child in your arms? When the Mets won the World Series?
Was your heart beating when you had your first break up? When a heard about the loss of a friend or loved one? A divorce? When your mom dies? Your heart probably felt like it was beating at all. It was heavy and aching. You could feel your heart breaking.
Of course it beat faster, and fluttered, and pounded out a rhythmic beat that can only be described as … LOVE.
My mom’s heart beat with a passion for life and a desire for love and, if you believe, there is no greater love than God. Psalm 73:26 says:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Born on April 14, 1930, my mom’s heart was young and strong and innocent; her hope was boundless. But, over time, my mom’s heart weakened. She suffered her first heart attack in 1981. In the years after, she fought off many other health challenges. Finally, on the morning of Friday, May 3, 2019 my mom’s heart stopped but, in the short nine days after she passed away, her love endures. Maybe more. Maybe stronger. Maybe longer than a lifetime.
If you believe, as Jesus encourages us 119 different times in the Book of James, then you understand this: We grieve with hope. The Bible says “we don’t ‘grieve like those who have no hope’– but we will still grieve” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
While my heart is heavy on Mother’s Day, I am steadfast in hope. You see, when my mom’s heart stopped, a new life in eternity began. If you are going through a difficult time, or your in a season where you doubt God’s existence, I encourage you to stop and consider your heart; why it beats; and for who it beats.
Happy Mother’s Day mom. Thank you mom for your love, your friendship and your provision. You were my greatest champion. I love and miss you … but I am certain we will meet again.
In 2014, I invited my then 84-year old mom on the podcast to talk Mets baseball, her memories of taking me to my first Mets game, how I broke her finger playing hoops and paying to watch a future felon play football. You can hear her voice, her humor, her joy for life and her children throughout this podcast.