As a young child, I moved with my family three times in three years. I learned a number of life lessons through those moving experiences.
Life changes. Nothing is permanent. Be open to new possibilities. Reach out to make friends. Be flexible. Embrace new experiences.
I was born in Greenville, South Carolina. I don’t live there anymore. At age 9, I lived in Easley, South Carolina. I don’t live there anymore. At age 10, I lived in Anderson, South Carolina. I don’t live there anymore.
For 38 years, I was married to Thurston Murray. I don’t live there anymore.
Meet Danny Gokey. One month before he auditioned for “American Idol,” he lost his young wife from surgical complications. He auditioned anyway, won a spot and made it to the final four. Though that may seem harsh to some, Gokey explains that his wife wanted him to audition; even through his own grief and pain, he honored her wish while dealing with her death.
In 2016, Gokey recorded the song, “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again,” on his second album. It’s a song that wraps the realities of intense loss, profound grief, unbearable pain, healing grace and restorative love into a melody of hope and regeneration. The song, written by Pastors Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig and Dan Dean, is based on the true story of another pastor who was allowed to watch open heart surgery.
With the surgery complete, several attempts to restart the heart’s beat failed. The surgeon knelt beside his patient and told her, “Mrs. Johnson, this is your surgeon. The operation went perfectly. Your heart has been repaired. Now tell your heart to beat again.” Mrs. Johnson’s heart began to beat.
The lyricists capture a deep truth about loss. “Yesterday’s a closing door. You don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been. And tell your heart to beat again.” In the process of grieving, everyone must learn this truth if they are to move beyond loss into a newness of life. Cast timetables aside. For some, it may take months. For others, it may take years. Moving beyond, however, is the key element in learning to live again, learning to breathe again, learning to tell your heart to beat again.
Meet 2-week-old Elizabeth. Diagnosed with a life-threatening condition while in her mother’s womb, she was whisked away immediately after birth for evaluation and stabilization. One week later, she had open-heart surgery to reverse two major vessels that were transfixed. One week later, she went home to begin life with her family. Elizabeth might have died at birth if the condition had not been discovered in utero. Surgeons and their skills were able to tell young Elizabeth, “Tell your heart to beat again.”
Meet Lisa Terkhuerst. She lost her baby sister to medical complications. She describes her grief as devastating, angry, hopeless, wading through an ocean of tears. At a point in time, however, she put what she calls the “blanket of deep grief” away, able once again to discover new hope and new life. When she put her deep anguish away, she told her heart to beat again.
“Tell your heart to beat again” is having its impact upon this time in my life, when the depths of heartache are a constant reminder of what was. What is “now” reflects the days when it feels like my heart is not truly beating. It is holding its breath for a time, and it is not ready to release that breath until the day when I, too, will put away my own “blanket of deep grief.”
There is hope bound in my faith, however, and I cling to it. I don’t live in my marriage any longer, but one day, my heart will beat again.