I have often heard hearts referred to as “heavy” or “light” by pastors, teachers and by friends in daily conversations. But what does that reference mean?
I read in Proverbs 25:20, “As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.” The Amplified Bible renders that verse, “He who sings songs to a heavy heart is like him who lays off a garment in cold weather and like vinegar upon soda.” Apparently, many people have had heavy hearts down through history.
But we also read much about the joyful or light hearts, too. We read in Romans 12:15 that we are to “Rejoice with those who rejoice (sharing others’ joy) and weep with those who weep (sharing others’ grief)” (Amplified Bible translation). Personally, I want my life to be light, joyful, happy and at peace with God and with my fellow man and woman. It hasn’t always been that way.
One thing I can attribute to Hurricane Ike that was good for many of us who called the Bolivar Peninsula home — the blessed joy of downsizing or simplifying. It is probably something I would have never undertaken on my own, but it has helped me lead a much more simple, less complex, and happy life. I simply don’t have that much to keep up with any longer. Because we were in Atlanta burying my mom when the storm hit and destroyed our beach home and all of the possessions I owned except what was in my one suitcase, I had little to worry about or to store and keep with up on a daily basis. Sure, I missed big things right away, and still today, nearly five years later, not a day goes by that I don’t miss something.
A perfect example is when my husband, Ted, and I were invited by a coalition of mayors, insurance executives, public adjusters and attorneys to travel to the storm ravaged East Coast and speak in town hall meetings to wonderful people facing now what we faced then. I looked for my pretty red and black coat. We knew that New Jersey and New York would be colder than Texas and Ted warned me to pack a good coat, gloves and scarves or hats. I looked in my closet, then I looked in his closet, and then out in the garage for the beautiful coat he had purchased for me as a Valentine gift. The coat was bright red trimmed out in black. I loved that coat and it fit just right, which is a rare thing.
After looking for two days and nights off and on, it hit me like a brick. “Ted, did you buy that coat before the storm or after the storm?” He stopped eating and looked startled. “I think it may have been before the storm.” Everything in our lives will always be marked BI (before Ike) or AI (after Ike). I no longer own that coat or anything else I had then including jewels of a lifetime, gifts my kids made me, important collectables, clothing, shoes and boots, and purses. But of all the things I lost, I still miss my books on a daily basis. We have never found one shred of our home or anything that was inside it when Ike hit.
We have learned to travel light, and I like it a lot. I have simply learned to do without much of what I once considered important in my life. Not to worry, we have the essentials, and our home is comfortable, but we do not have the stored supplies we once had. We could move much more easily now. It wouldn’t take as long. We would not be quite so tired.
In learning this physical truth, I believe I have also learned a delightful spiritual lesson, too. God doesn’t want His children to get too accustomed to this old world. We should travel lightly here, too. One day, He will call or we will die, and we will move to Heaven. It will be a lot easier if we are not encumbered with so many weights and burdens. I have just re-read a wonderful book by Max Lucado titled “Traveling Light.” His subtitle for the book is, “Releasing the burdens you were never intended to bear.” He encourages the reader to lose much of the luggage of life and to enjoy the journey more.
I wish for you, our faithful readers, the absolute joy of learning to travel more lightly this year, both physically and spiritually.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.