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Yesterday I saw my heart

If you’ve ever been to a therapist, or read a personal growth book, the chances are good you’ve heard the following words: “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.”

I don’t think I ever really understood the meaning of those words until yesterday…because yesterday I saw my heart.

I was at the doctor’s office, having a stress/echo test. This is where they hook you up to a monitor and ultrasound your heart, followed by walking on a treadmill, followed by looking at your heart again. I’m on my left side, staring at the monitor only a few inches away.

“Is that my heart?” I asked the technician as she ran the device over my chest.

“Yes,” she said, and then proceeded to tell me about the different anatomical parts of my heart.

I don’t think I heard her, because something very profound was happening to me. I looked at this organ, beating its…well…heart out for me, and without any warning I fell head over heels in love…with me.

I’d never seen my heart before. I’ve heard of pregnant couples going in for an ultrasound, and experiencing the joy of seeing their baby for the first time. I’ve never had children, but I’m fairly sure that had I ever been pregnant an ultrasound would have detected four paws and a tail.

As I watched my heart beating I could feel myself becoming very calm. I can’t find the words to tell you how deeply I connected to what I was seeing. It was like finding your soul mate…or falling in love at first sight.

My company’s name is Lighthearted Press. I’ve always described my books for animal lovers as “heartfelt.” Over the years people have blessed me with comments such as “You have a beautiful heart” or “I could feel your heart touching mine when I read about your heartbreak after you lost your dog, Jake.”

My favorite line from all my books is “Something awakens in the heart of a dog when he knows that he is needed.” (From Old Dog and the Christmas Wish by Christine Davis.)

All those thoughts came rushing back to me as I watched my heart beating on the monitor. All too soon I was detached from the wires and back in my car. When I got home I looked out the window, and all the evergreens in the yard just seemed so much greener. My four kitties, whom I love with all my HEART, seemed even more magical to me.

I thought of Jake. Over and over I had talked about his magnificent heart, but for the first time I was able to appreciate just how special he was, for inside him was a beating heart that probably looked a lot like mine.

I’ve been wondering about all the crazy experiences that led to my being at the doctor’s office yesterday. A wise friend suggested that maybe the purpose of all the events of the past month was for me to have that stress test.

I think perhaps she is right. Everything seems so much clearer to me now. Everything feels more precious to me today because yesterday, for the first time in my life, I saw my heart…and it’s beautiful.


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