What I Learned From an Artificial Heart Valve

My Dad had a valve replaced in his heart last week by a miracle constructed of wire and tissue from a cow.

As I listened to one of the fine people at Westchester Medical Center describe how it was made, and all the ways technology would continue to improve the blood flow of people in the future, as I reflected on the number of families I’d seen over the past few days at the hospital just trying to put one foot in front of the other either in grief or recovery, as I thanked the gods and the stars and the doctors who made it possible for my Dad’s joy to continue flowing as freely as it is today and my Mom’s relentless commitment to our entire family’s well-being, and my husband’s steadfast compassion and patience, I thought: it’s awfully difficult to be a human being. And yet, miraculous.

Why not live more in joy than fear then, I wondered? Why not dwell more in possibility, than in blame? Why must we spend so much of our lives trying to overcome someone else’s intent to put us down?

Too often in the past couple of weeks, I’ve witnessed vitriol and hateful accusations, misdirected blame, angry assumptions, harmfully jumped conclusions — all, to my mind, leading people straight down the rabbit hole that is lack, instead of towards the light at the end of the tunnel that is abundance and creativity. But I have no room for that emptiness. My heart is too full of the miracle that is family, and generosity, and art, and life.

Today I choose love over fear, joy over hate, possibility over hopelessness, and action over complacency that can encompass all of the above. There’s really no time for anything else, is there?

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