Years ago, one of my suppliers was diagnosed with bowel cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, it was discovered he had a hole in his heart. Something needed to be done, urgently, or he was going to die. He couldn’t get enough oxygen; walking only five paces left him short of breath. Combined with his treatment for bowel cancer he was in a bad way.
Shortly after his operation I sat at the foot of his bed, in awe of the miracle which had drastically changed his life. Very emotional he told me how the surgeon discovered it was worse than they thought – ultimately he required two plastic valves and one metal valve for his heart.
With tears running down his cheeks he told me that the surgeon had held his heart in his hands and placed it onto his chest. And, chokingly, he said again “Held my heart in his hands”.
I cried along with him. Truly, a miracle.
With a sob and a smile, he went on to say that he thought only his wife ever held his heart. We marvelled at the magnificence of surgeons and their procedures and how, literally, they hold our hearts – our lives – in their hands.
Later that day, I reflected on what he had said. And it got me thinking.
You know, we’re all “heart doctors” in our own way. Every day we “touch” someone else’s heart through our kind words, our dreams, our hopes – just for being ourselves! And like a true doctor, your touch may enable someone to “live” again.
I heard the following years ago:
A young boy was walking along a beach strewn with hundreds of starfish. He came across an old man who was picking up one starfish at a time and tossing it back into the sea … but the boy could see that for every one he tossed back in, at least two more were being washed back onto the shore.
Perplexed, he went up to the old man and said, “Old man! Why are you tossing those starfish back in? It makes no difference! Look how many come back in!”
The old man turned to the boy. “Son,” he said, as he tossed a starfish back into the sea, “it sure made a difference to that one!”
It’s all about making a difference.
Article by Tara West © 2000
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