What If Today…You Gave Your Heart a Hug?


“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.” ~Blaise Pascal

“Do your eyes get hot and you have to cry?” James asked. He has asked me that question twice in two weeks. I guess that’s how he feels when he knows that the tears are brimming, and threatening to break through the dam of a stoic heart.

Yesterday we were hurrying to the bus stop to meet Kenny and Madeleine in the rain when I remembered the Chinese Forget-Me-Nots I’d planted 10 days earlier. There they were, sprouting all on their own, no help from me.

That’s how I experience tears from a hurting heart; sprouting from the depths, covered up with thick mulch. pushing themselves to the surface, demanding to be seen. They never need my help, and rarely remind me of their presence lurking below the surface, their source of nourishment being unfinished business and sometimes regrets and sorrows.

Problem for me is that those feelings aren’t who I am, but they end up defining me when I don’t “manage” them or when I unconsciously expect other people to manage them for me. You see, I feel things deeply and tend to over-share with people. And that can overwhelm people unnecessarily. I’m okay with vulnerability. But this is different. This is like walking around naked all the time!

Just yesterday I’d been joyfully going about, spending the morning  with my mom, napping peacefully in the middle of the day, waking refreshed and ready to spend more time with her in the evening. We laughed, talked, solved problems and thoroughly enjoyed each other.

So, the sadness that poked through as I climbed the cellar stairs was not a welcome visitor this morning. Why the randomness? Why today? Memories were flooding in. I’d plug one hole and another would burst open, threatening to overflow and overtake all the good feelings that were struggling for time and space to make new memories today, tomorrow and the next day.

Pushing down the feelings as hard as I could I realized I wasn’t going to win. But I didn’t feel like crying either. Instead I did something new. And remarkably, it felt right.

I finished my ascent of the stairs and mentally took my heart out and gave it a hug.

(I know. Sounds strange. Even to me.)

I’ve been up for a few hours and have had to do a lot of “stuff” already. So far, so good, as they say. My heart is sad, but I’m not. I consider that a minor miracle! Don’t get me wrong. I love a good hug. And I’ll take one any day, for any reason. But I need to live as I’m living. Do you know what I mean? I want to experience joy…even with sadness poking through every now and again.

I’ve learned that  you can’t go around denying your feelings. You can try, but they will make themselves known somehow, just like my Forget-Me-Nots, probably when you least expect it.

May as well acknowledge them when they pop up ’cause the source is easier to identify when they first sprout.

So….give your heart a hug when it needs it.

Just a thought.

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15 thoughts on “What If Today…You Gave Your Heart a Hug?

  1. Very refreshing. We were given our emotions for a reason but too often we deny them or on the other extreme we allow them to control us, much to the detriment of ourselves and those around us. I believe that when we learn to acknowledge our feelings and find productive ways to express them, we will find greater depth in our experiences and and healthy growth through them. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

  2. Oh Betsy..I’m so glad you didn’t decide to not post this! It’s nice to know there’s someone else who has these feelings. What you have is the talent to put them into words, while some of us just scratch our heads and think..what was THAT all about!
    Hugs to you and your pea pickn’ heart! LOL

    As Always ~*~

    • My “pea pickin’ heart” ???? You are one crazy lady! LOL! I had theeeeee longest day today. And it’s not ending ’til …family history ’til 9. I don’t think I’ve been this tired in at least 24 hrs. HA!

      • I wish it the water was still cold enough. I’d have to travel north to Maine. I was thinking about that yesterday. So…in the meantime…what to do? I asked 2 friends who have boats to take me out into the ocean so I could swim in the “black”. Scares me to death. And there have been sharks around, but they’re down Cape. IDK….I need ideas. You’re right. I loved those plunges. Have to wait til October…

      • Oooo..I hate swimming way out in the big lake..no sharks..but it just gives me ceeps. I think that amber Chick has a Summer Polar Dip spot alllll picked out for us!!! We’ll show her!! I think you should do the dips anyway..I love seeing the ocean!!!!

  3. How heart-breakingly beautiful, Betsy. Exactly and perfect! Thank you for this and I guarantee, when I get to have you two girls all to myself, I’ll give you all the chill you can stand! Polar dips, indeed.

    • I went to the family history center last night, dragging my feet. I had the BEST time. Tow women came in (separately) who needed help. That was all I needed. By 8pm we’d found a story of one of their great great grandfather’s who was buried at sea on his way to America in 1864, leaving his wife with children, ages 3-15. It was fascinating.
      I can’t imagine the water in Alaska ever getting above freezing! How fun! Funny, though…it’s only fun when you choose it. I get really bummed taking a cold shower! LOL!

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