A nurse who monitored my first walk around the floor in ICU in Fort Meyers, Florida, said, “Most heart attack patients are older than you and can’t feel those little sensations in their heart.”
She was referring to what I had noted, which was that, as I walked anew, I could feel my heart skipping beats, sending me random messages of unfamiliar feelings in my chest.
“It’s good that you can feel that,” she said. “It means your heart is sensitive. It’s a sign of a strong heart.”
I’m feeling a lot of things these days.
Reflecting on this past year reminds me just how difficult 2013 was. For me, personally. For us, the Pocahontas County Commission. For our county government. And for all of us in our entirety as 8,700 plus people who saw many things change in ways we didn’t want them to. We take these things to heart, each and every one of us, because they are hard, and we feel them, and they oftentimes hurt.
During the holidays in years past, I’ve written to update you on the Commission’s accomplishments, including how we have been able to financially assist various county and community organizations. Indeed, this year we’ve been blessed to be able to continue our commitments to many of these organizations that do difficult and necessary work throughout the county, and have been able to assist some new ones, as well.
But this year, quite bluntly, I am lucky to be alive, and it is from this new and teaching moment of aliveness that I write to you today.
I now realize that throughout this year, I didn’t see that, many times, I just felt so full of grief. Because of the difficult decisions a commissioner must make for which there are often no satisfactory answers. Because of matters we so desperately wish to improve but over which we ultimately have little or no control. I speak as a commissioner, yes, but I also speak as any one of us might. As parents, husbands, wives, siblings, partners and children facing difficulties of the heart every single day.
It was October 26 as Dawn and I were settled into a long-awaited vacation when my heart said something I didn’t expect to hear.
“David, now that I have your full attention, I know you will hear what I’ve been trying to tell you all along: you must learn to let some things go.”
And so it was 30 minutes later in the ER that I began my journey of learning how important the “random messages” of one’s heart are.
We cannot go our whole lives – some of us not a full 45 years of it – carrying all our pains with us in our hearts. Each of us – if we wish to stay on this Earth longer – needs to forgive ourselves and each other to make fresh space in our hearts for the unseen difficulties yet to come. It is my intention that my heart never has to remind me of this again, that I always hear its messages both faint and loud, each day on this Earth, in this lovely county of Pocahontas.
I wish for you, this Christmas and always, if your heart too has been troubled, that you may find it in you to let go those things you must, so that you may be renewed. Make peace with your heart, so that you may live, you and your heart, together.
And so it is with a renewed heart that I look forward to continuing our work together in 2014.
On behalf of the Pocahontas County Commission, may you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a joyful start to the New Year.
David M. Fleming,