Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Heart of Life

The advent of fall has brought many things forward for me this year. First and foremost, it is my favorite season. I think it always has been. Most everyone likes summer, not me. There is just something wonderful about the changing colors and the crunch of leaves under my feet. The crisp, chilly morning air that morphs into the pleasant sit outside on the bench and do homework air never gets old.

Another thing that I had never really given much thought to was the fragility of life. I don't think that many of us realize our fragile states until we witness something that throws into shock relief how vulnerable we really are.

Yesterday I watched a horse struggle to walk. Poppy's steps were agonizingly slow, for both her and me. It hurt me to watch her. She couldn't bend her left hind leg at all, and it just literally dragged behind her as she hobbled along with us to a stall. While a few people were taking a cursory glance at her leg, Poppy started to tilt to one side. There were about five of us around her sides, just trying to give her some semblance of support with our feeble (in comparison) human arms, when she fell. Luckily we all made it out of her way as she went down.

Then, the inevitable "gotta get back up" struggle happened. That is when it became rather hairy for her and us. She couldn't use that leg to get back up, so she flailed around trying to get back up. Meanwhile, the five of us were in the back of the stall watching helplessly while also aware of the all too real possibility that she could accidentally hurt one of us. She ended up on her side, and we rushed over to calm her down before she tried to do anything more. By the time I left the barn after some chores and other miscellaneous tasks, she had managed to stand back up. As of right now, she's doing better.

Driving home, I kept thinking of how helpless we were to do anything for her. Sure, we surrounded her and tried to help her stay standing while we looked at her leg. But once she went down, there was no feasible way for five girls (women...) to get a one-thousand pound animal that is injured back up on her own three (instead of four in this particular situation) feet. Every living creature on this Earth is fragile. Vulnerable.

We humans are physically, emotionally, and spiritually fragile. It doesn't take much to snap your leg bone. A tiny virus can incapacitate you for a good week. One harsh word or action can cut you deeper than the sayer or doer could know. An unexplainable event has the potential to shake one's spiritual foundation...God, why did that have to happen?

The heart of life undergoes many tests. We are continually tested. It is up to us to practice those practices that benefit our heart, that strengthen our fragile selves. It is up to us to do those things that will help us grow and to avoid those things that will only hold us back. John Mayer says it well in "Heart of Life":

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around

No, it won't all go away, it should

But I know the heart of life is good

God is our trump card. Peace and love conquer all. In the end, the love that was so graciously given to us by Christ saves us. Our fragile and feeble selves are taken care of, even if we don't realize it. By the grace of God, I now know that in spite of everything, the heart of life is good.


Moo! said...

Interestingly my daughter and I were just listening to John Mayer while eating supper together. Good thoughts, good song. (oops...I'm not Moo). :)

Ashley Siferd said...

Wow Moo! I'm surprised but nonetheless happy that you have children :) Thanks for the feedback

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I have a 90-year-old friend who is probably in worse shape than your horse, Poppy. She tells me, "re rekomenduetsya staret'" (getting old is not recommended). I don't think we have any choice, and watching her, once a robust marathon winner, it is clear that our fragility only increases. That is why we need a connection to something other than our physical world. Our physical world is tenuous.