It’s Valentine’s Day and so my thoughts turn to hearts, understood as the inner impulses we offer to God and as the beating heart in each of our chests. I was talking with a friend of mine after church last week. Peggy is a vascular cardio sonographer.
I always associate sonograms with pregnancy, but come to find out from her that they take sonograms of people’s hearts. There is something called the PMI- point of maximum impulse that she can feel when doing a heart sonogram. It is the point of most intense beating. She told me that when people suffer a coronary stroke or an acute heart attack or sometimes an arrhythmia episode they “die,” until the team resuscitates them. When they return to her office for their checkups, weeks or months later, they often share with her their experiences.
One of the most moving to her was a patient who told her recently about her experience of death and resuscitation. “I saw Jesus holding out both arms to welcome me. And I felt the tremendous love and acceptance he offered in a wordless way. Then he put his arms down and I returned. I guess it wasn’t time.”
A few days ago Peggy was doing a sonogram on a woman she knew to be a person of faith. Her young granddaughter was with her in the room.
“What are you doing to my grandma?” asked the girl.
“I’m listening to her heart.” Peggy told her. “You know who else listens to her heart?”
“No,” the girl shook her head and gave her a blank look.
So Peggy refrained from mentioning the name that was in her mind. The one she believes will one day hold out his arms to all of us.
Recently Peggy was present when her friend’s aunt passed away. She had had Alzheimer’s for years and not spoken in some time. But at the moment of death she said, “It’s true. It’s all true.”
Some scoff and others attribute it all to brain chemistry. I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see for ourselves.