Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Losing one's heart. And finding it again...


When my heart valve first began to fail, I remember feeling intensely frightened. I couldn't understand why I was feeling such intense physical symptoms of fear when there was, as far as I could tell, nothing I was actually afraid of.

But there I was in a cold sweat, immense and sickening butterflies in my stomach, heart pounding, and so weak in the knees I could walk hardly any distance before needing to sit down and rest.

Later I discovered it was one of the symptoms of heart failure and had a latin name: timor mortis. The fear of death.

There was a real wisdom to it, because it forced me to seek help from my doctor. And without that, I might well have died.

All this happened over ten years ago now, and yet it's left a legacy of fear I am only slowly beginning to lose.

For a long time whenever I was afraid I would have to check and reflect whether this was happening because I was ill. Or because I really was afraid.

It was confusing. And given an understandable propensity to deny the possibility of recurring heart disease, sometimes I would soldier on until I was actually forced to stop. Once, in Brazil, because I collapsed on stage.

It's only recently that I had a pacemaker fitted and so now, for the first time in ten years, I can actually rely on my heart beating at a normal rate.

And it feels suddenly as if my life is on firm foundations again. And with those firm foundations, there's been a lifting of a considerable weight of fear.

A fear that had become so habitual that I no longer even knew it was there; and have only become aware of it now that it has gone.

This morning, the possibility of performing Queen Jesus in West Africa suddenly took a step closer. It's been around as a vague possible for about 6 months now, and I haven't really thought about it because the possibility has made me nervous.

And today I suddenly found myself responding enthusiastically and positively and taking the whole thing closer still.

As if after years of losing heart, I had suddenly found my heart again. And with it, my courage.
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