Monday, August 3, 2009


Photo from

I am often overwhelmed at the continuous string of terrible, tragic stories of things that are going on in the world. Yet, when I look for the good that can come about as a result of these, I am buoyed up with hope.

Like a quilt is tied together with bits of string or yarn, I believe that our lives are tied together with heartstrings.

When we hear of a tragedy in the community, our heartstrings call us to action.

When we find that a friend has suffered a death in the family, our heartstrings bring to mind the ways we can offer comfort.

When someone we know tells us of their child's successes or failures, our heartstrings make us want to cheer them on.

When we learn of a stranger's struggle over a personal loss, our heartstrings evoke sympathy.

When we read about the homesickness and heartache (but also happiness and hope) of a young neighbor who is serving the people of a foreign country, our heartstrings bring emotions close to the surface.

When we learn of unrealized dreams, lost hope or broken faith, our heartstrings can cause an incurable aching which prompts us to help where we can.

My personal definition for heartstrings would be: the love for humanity that binds the deepest love and emotion in our hearts to each other.

Much like twin siblings seem to forge an unbreakable bond in utero, I believe that all of us, as human beings who share this planet with each other, as imperfect individuals who were all created by the same loving Father, have an inherent connection which defies definition.

And I think that if we could learn to recognize those pulls on our heartstrings - and to act upon them - it would be a beautiful thing.


Gina said...

You are so right. Even reading this, I automatically go through a list of friends, family and neighbors and think of who fits these categories. Who needs help.

Anaise said...

We need to nourish our heartstrings--keep them strong by loving actions--otherwise they grow flimsy and break. It is the people with strong heartstrings that I strive to emulate . . . thanks for being a good example!

rorymckm said...

amen, gerberta!

Holmes said...

Nicely said. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. At girls camp last week (yes, I bet I love it as much as you do!), I started talking to a sister from another ward and was surprised at how much I was sharing with her. At one point, she stopped me and asked me my name. Here I was, pouring out my heart to a stranger (although I did know her name and had seen her around at different stake activities for years) and she didn't even know my name. As we continued to talk, I commented that I couldn't believe I was sharing so much (including lots of tears) with someone I really didn't know. She stopped me and said it was because we were speaking heart to heart...and we were. I knew I could talk to her and she would understand because we truly were speaking heart to heart. I don't know if it was my heartstrings or hers that pulled us together, but it was a beautiful thing. Thanks, Gerb!

simplysarah said...

I like your thoughts. You have a tener heart. I agree about that connection we can feel with all our brothers and sisters - if we will pay attention.

I do think there needs to be a balance in how we let our heartstrings be pulled though. Or perhaps, a self-education of when to loosen the ties. Because without restraint, can we not become overly-emotionally-involved in situations over which we have no control?

On my mission I felt like I had to let go a little, or my heart would have literally broken a thousand times over.

Maybe it still did.

Gerb said...

Gina- I almost posted links to stories that brought these ideas to mind as I wrote this post. But then I thought it would be better for others to relate their own experiences. Thanks for proving me right. :)

Anaise- Well, I try, but it never seems to be enough. I need to remind myself that my best IS good enough. I am always my own worst critic! Thanks for the compliment.

Rory- Thanks!

Holmes- Amazing how that works, isn't it? And by the way - I always love it when you comment. It's pretty sad that we live in the same city and never see each other in real life. We need to remedy that. I have been thinking a LOT (probably too much) lately on my growing up years - and can I just say THANK YOU so much. You and Curby are a large part of my best memories.

Sarah- I totally agree. That is one of my biggest difficulties in life: wanting to make everything better for everyone. And learning to accept that that is not even remotely possible is something I still struggle with every day. I call it 'over-empathy'. That's my disease. I do have a tender heart and I keep trying to figure out how this is a gift - because I try to see it as such. But it often feels more like a curse when I hurt so much for people that I don't know or can't do anything for. Do you know what I mean?

Anonymous said...

You have such a tender heart, Gerb. Such true thoughts--thank you for the reminder to be compassionate and empathetic. I need that every now and then.

annette said...

This is simply beautiful. I love the way you put it: "the love for humanity that binds the deepest love and emotion in our hearts to each other." It's what "ties" us together, bit by bit, until we eventually become one. Think of the beautiful quilt that will be!

Brown Thumb Mama said...

Yes, yes, yes. Our hearts think alike.

Shellie said...

Sweet. Maybe we just need to DO more with them except just feel with them...

Sybrina said...

THIS is just one of the many reasons I am so glad I met you that evening at the baby shower! Someday you're gonna right a book, right? And, I will brag to everyone I know that I know you!