My closest sister-friend and I were recently discussing the well documented critical period that occurs the third day, following heart surgery. According to experts, on day three, patients go into what is described as a “very dark place”. If there is no reason for the heart to go on beating, it often stops – permanently. Medical professionals acknowledge that patients who do not have the physical presence of a loved one, or trusted caregiver on day three, and beyond are much more likely to succumb. This got me thinking.
During the three days leading up to the remembrance of my birth, I was very aware of the people, places, and things that distort the pure deep tones of my heart. Gossip, resentment, jealousy, unproductive anger, greed, feelings of unworthiness, a lack of forgiveness for myself, or times I doubt that there is more good than bad in each of us, all muffled the sound. (although occasionally you have to wait a mighty long time to for the best of people to arrive)
Three days after my birthday, mom and I were honored to attend the reclamation and homecoming ceremony, after a three hundred and thirty-three year exile, of the Natick Praying Indians to their ancestral land and meeting-house – The Eliot Church of South Natick. We were drummed along in a procession circling the church before entry, and mom was accompanied by fellow veteran warriors Pat Hayes, and Dave Josselyn.
Watching Dave lead the way, as Pat pushed her wheelchair I was overcome with emotion. The realization continues each time I pass her into the hands of others, whether in a parade, a four-wheel vehicle that carries her down to the water at the beach, or in this case – her wheelchair, (which was carried with her in it) – up the stairs of the church by three strong men, is practice for the day when her physical body will be carried away from us after her spirit has moved beyond what we can see.
Wanting to participate fully moment by moment during the service, I only photographed the procession, but those are the images you just saw. It was a tear filled blessing to be called into the church for worship by the host drum of the Natick Praying Indians resounding the heartbeat of mother earth. I am still processing all that I experienced in those two hours. Suffice to say for now – And worship we did, fully and completely.
I am left with many questions that I hope you will join me in considering the answers to. Who and what does my/our heart beat for? What causes it to continue beating? What is needed physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to open the passage ways that may have narrowed or grown weary? Who or what are the people, places, and things that are needed now to strengthen and sustain its rhythm?