Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Hole in my Heart

One of the things the physicians discovered last weekend is that I have a small hole in my heart. I have something that is rather common in individuals, a Patent Forament Ovale (PFO). Typically, individuals are born with these small holes that typically close after a year or two. However, some individuals discover later that the flap never closed, allowing small amounts of blood and other particles to travel from one part of the heart to the other. This passing through can actually lead to heart attack and stroke.

While hospitalized last week, I watched on a screen as one health professional created bubbles with my IV, forcing fluid through the veins so we could see if there was an opening. Sure enough, a tiny opening was found - the same opening already discovered and fixed in the hearts of my mother and a cousin - and I watched as the bubbles filled the other side of my heart. The doctors are not convinced that my PFO is large enough to be the culprit for my dizziness and fainting. Yet, I cannot stop thinking about this hole and its implications. A really small hole in the heart can wreck havoc. A really small hole in the heart can be the reason for major health issues.

In the 51st Psalm, David writes powerful words about the heart. He begins the Psalm by praying to the Lord, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight." He then continues later, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me... Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit."

Create in me a clean heart. These words are the prayer of David. A contemporary song invites us to sing, "Change my heart O God." The heart is a powerful vessel, and all it takes is one small hole to make the heart unclean. All it takes is one little ounce of impurity or hatred to cause the heart to be unhealthy.

Think about all the impurities we allow into our hearts - hatred of others, an unwillingness to forgive, being anti- this or that, our tendency to be judgmental, our preconceived notion of the other, an unwillingness to hear another's story, and the list goes on and on. All it takes is one little thing to get into our heart and cause it to not beat the way God designed it to beat - and the impact is the same whether we are speaking of our physical hearts or our spiritual hearts or perhaps even the heart of our churches.

What about your heart? What's the condition of your heart?

I'm praying for a clean heart. If the PFO is what is causing my health issues, then I want it fixed quickly. But, I'm also praying for any other ounce of hatred in my heart that is pushing through to be cleansed, to be withdrawn, to be healed.

Gracious and loving God, touch my heart once more. Cleanse it from any impurities. Block any holes that allow hatred or other impurities to pass through. Give me a heart that beats like yours. Make my heart large enough to love like you. Give me a beating, understanding, overflowing heart. Amen.


cheryl said...

What a beautiful post, Donna... on your vacation no less :)

Thanks for the reminder to get the impurities out of our hearts. And here's hoping to a quick fix for you!

bray said...


I caught your blog on an alert for PFO. You can learn more about PFO at www.pforesearch.org. Please take our PFO patient survey and share the link with anyone else you know with a PFO, open or closed.

You can also find more than 300 patients discussing PFO and related issues in our online discussion group at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=106434738635&ref=ts.

Best regards,

Bray Patrick-Lake,
President and CEO
PFO Research Foundation