165. How to get a Heart “Transplant”

A Broken Heart || Ann Ning Learning How

The dove is named Dudley. I drew him the day I lost my job and was sad. Mommy helped me cut him out. My sister saw Dudley on my wall one day and was like, “Ummm…why is that dove Cuh-Ry-Ing?” (The 3 syllables indicated her distress over MY distress.) But the point of this pic is the row of little pink things on the right. They are little heart-shaped post-its that I tore up and stuck on my wall to signify my sadness when we first came home. (Parts have fallen off with time.) I wrote the names of my hospitals on them.

Okay, I’m gonna get all crazy on you and just call a spade a spade because I have encountered some situations lately where people are just absolutely miserable, and I know that kind of misery – you feel like a gutted fish and wish so desperately to have a different set of circumstances. Better, preferably, but different will do – because living the way you are is unbearable. There is only so much talking about professional help and different life-coaching techniques one can talk about. I’m not knocking these concepts, (I’ve actually found some helpful) I’m just saying that they can only take you so far. If you want true and lasting transformation…if you want peace to accept that your past (no matter how sheltered or shattered) is a part of who you are and the power to become the person you were meant to be, there is only one solution for you: Jesus Christ.

Oooh – I said It. I said The Name. It’s a divisive Name these days – but it’s also “the Name which is above every name….” and as I told M (37) the first time she confiscated my cane, “ran” me around the hospital, and then let me retrieve Leo, “Thank the Lord…and I do not talk about the Lord lightly.” I’ve given you the punchline, so you can opt out now if you want to. One more thing – the word “transplant” is in quotation marks in my title since I am not talking about a physical organ transplant. If you are looking for information on getting a transplant I’m sure there are a gazillion web resources for you. A couple of dear ones in my life have received organs from others and let me just take a moment to encourage you to become an organ donor if you don’t already have the little heart on your license. And if you’re waiting for a transplant or recovering from one, <3.

On to business: Have you ever been so miserable you can’t get out of bed in the morning? Not being able to get out of bed is a relatively mild manifestation of the misery I am referring to. I have referenced how God answered my questions before, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever spelled it out. So here goes.

I was miserable when we flew home. My mind was like a hamster on a wheel and the mental friction was making me so uncomfortable I feel like vomiting right now just thinking about it. Seriously, if God had not intervened for me my eyeballs would have popped out of their sockets from the stress. Sorry to be so graphic, but I don’t know any other way to describe it – it was messy. It was a blessing that I was physically unable to take any meaningful action from my grief.

Thankfully, God knew I could not handle this kind of pressure for too long. When I say He “intervened” – I do not mean that I woke up one morning and there was cloud-writing in the sky that said, “I did not forget you – I did this on purpose and you can trust Me,” although that would have been undeniably fabulous. But what is significant to me is that even though something really bad happened to me, God make me okay with it via completely ordinary, publicly available means.

I believe that Christ is the One Redemptive Solution for the world we live in. This is not new or privileged knowledge (at least where I live). I learned about this by reading and listening to things available through a simple Google search or going to a hotel and looking at the Bible in the nightstand etc. Then God gave me some extreme circumstances. Yes, they are extreme, but let me just say again that I’m grateful that my condition did not arise from an act of carelessness or violence on the part of another person. I have been spared that, but many are not. Anyway, my decision to keep on believing what I believed before I got sick was based on the fact that I decided to examine my beliefs and discard them if they didn’t make sense to me (Spoiler Alert: My beliefs withstood the scrutiny and I kept them). There was no supernatural experience or heavenly vision – I was just lying in my bed (because I was unable to do anything else) and I thought.

So that’s what saved me from a lifetime of anger and bitterness. I see lots of people with many reasons to be angry and bitter. These are reasons I don’t take issue with – they would make me angry, too. But anger+bitterness just eats you alive like poison from the inside out. The problem is that the notion of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, while immensely attractive in its appeal to the human desire to exert self-control, be a problem-solver, and determine your destiny, will not allow you change in a lasting way. You need a heart transplant. A complete transformation.

Perhaps you are not angry or bitter and never have been. I’m glad you don’t have to tussle with those feelings, but the thing is that the One Redemptive Solution is predicated on the notion that need is universal. This is not about learning a new “strategy for living” (as my friend F said, once) – strategies for living are all over the place these days. This is about life, period. Specifically, moving from death to life. And the Solution that works under extreme circumstances is the same one that functions when life is relatively rosy and smooth. You’re not aiming at a moving target – it’s stationary – but the idea is that everyone has already missed the mark, and it requires Divine intervention to have peace with God.

If you read until the end, thanks for hanging in there with me. :).

Luke 4.18 “…he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted…”

More info on how I got a heart transplant:

Words of life:

6 thoughts on “165. How to get a Heart “Transplant”

  1. Coming from you, this means a lot. You may blush at the comparison, but I think of what Corrie Ten Boom’s sister said to her in the concentration camp, something along the lines of “they will believe us because we’ve been here.”

    • Thanks, Randa – I always think of when they go to the bunker and are horrified by the cockroaches. Corrie is like, No One can live like thus. But Betsey immediately prays, Show us how. And Coriecrealizes the line bw living and praying was increasingly blurred for her sister, and I do blush at the comparison xxoo

  2. Oh my – what a great post, Ning. Thank you for sharing your heart and your faith so clearly here. Conpletley agree with R’s comments as well. And I love both of your references to Corrie Ten Boom. Maybe because, for once, I’ve actually read the book and know what you’re talking about (ahem….thanks, Ning, for “forcing” me to read it!!) – and certainly, bc they are such remarkable points in her story. Love you!

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