I have probably used the phrase “heavy heart” many times in my life, and each time with sincerity. But it was not until this morning that I truly understood what happens when these two words walk side-by-side.
When your heart is hurting, you feel a heaviness that is physiological–visceral–suffused throughout your conscious self–and your whole essence, your very Being, is slowed. Your body responds with a retardation of speed and lessening of agility. There is a fuzziness about the alertness of your mind. You are less engaged, less involved, and less capable of being either engaged or involved. A heavy heart is a drag that comes from so far within, it remains impervious to all of our rational expectations. We can try to talk ourselves out of feeling this way but the words fall on a deaf organ system.
If you think about it, these reductions are for our own good. They function as a protective system that allows us to process loss, mourn and grieve.
And so we learn to let go because the heaviness of our hearts makes us slow down and deal with it. If not for the added weight of a heart that insists on being heard and honored, we would continue charging through our daily lives as if we were the bulls of Pamplona.
Erwin Froman, born in Romania on 29 September 1928 and survivor of four concentration camps, a man who proudly stated every time I saw him, “Well, I’m still here, which means that God isn’t done with me yet,” has died.
And I was his friend.
And my heart is heavy.