a leaking heart

This week/weekend has proven more eventful than I thought it was going to be. Which is not a bad thing. Not only did I get to hang out and play nertz with two of my favorites, Paige and Torri, but I also got treated to lunch at the Olive Garden yesterday, compliments of my husband's idea and a gift card :). We had an interesting week visiting Torri in the hospital … which was also unexpected… but are so glad she is at home and doing better. [VERY long story short: she got throttled to the ground during a basketball game 2 weeks ago, split her head open…no foul...Yikes. Anyway. She of course, being the tough cookie she is, got the blood taken care of and patched up and returned to the game to score our team's first two points She felt fine in the following few days, even played in a game three nights after the accident, but then noticed a swelling beginning in her neck. It progressively got worse…and worse and worse and worse…which led to checking her in the hospital to make sure it wasn't infected and that she was okay. She is still recovering, but doing awesome…and if anyone from our town sees the girl that caused her to fall so violently, well, let's just say that girl better have some body guards :). Nobody messes with our Torri!] All that to say-- most of my evenings were spent visiting her, and not blogging, which was way better. I love that girl.

Now to what the title of this post references [I had no intention of writing that "introduction" but there it is].

I'm currently reading "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak [and need to do another review post over books I've read recently]. I'm only about a 1/4 of the way into it, but so far it has been fantastic [Thanks for the recommendation, Meagan!]. But I'll save all of that for later.

I was reading the other night and the following words struck me:
"Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out."
To put this in context for those of you that have never read the book, "he" is referring to a man living outside Munich in Nazi Germany. "He" does not agree with Hitler. He is a member of the Nazi party because he must provide for his family. But…"somewhere far down, there was an itch in his heart…"

I just finished reading/teaching the play version of "The Diary of Anne Frank" with my 8th grade class, so part of the reason this struck me is because I had to stop and think, "What if everyone, in particular males who were members of the Nazi party, who had an "itch" in their hearts during this time WOULD have been willing to "scratch it"? What atrocities may have been stopped?"

But then my mind kept on moving, as it often as the tendency to do and I realize I'm not always in complete control over it…

What if WE, in particular men and women who are members of the Kingdom of God, would scratch our hearts where they itch? What if we would scratch that place that tells us it isn't okay to be buying ANOTHER present for a family member when there are kids not only in other countries but in our own communities who need shoes, clothes, and shelter? What if we would scratch that place in our hearts that tells us to give up our vacation time to go serve in Ethiopia, or Poland, or China? What if we would scratch that place that tells us the job we've had for 10plus years, though comfortable to us, may not be where we are supposed to remain if we truly want to use our gifts? What if we would scratch that place that tells us to move from everything we know to follow His call, even if we don't know exactly what all that entails right now?

And maybe the itch isn't even that big. But what if we would scratch that place that tells us to stop and ask that older woman if she would like help carrying her groceries? What if we would scratch that place that tells us to let a dad with two restless kids in his cart ahead of us in line? What if we would scratch that place that tells us to offer a hug, especially when hugs are uncomfortable for us? What if we would scratch that place that tells us to pay for the other person's gas too while filling up at the pump?

What if we would be willing to scratch the itch in our hearts, whatever it may be?

I think, just like the fictional character in the book, we don't scratch because we are afraid of what will come leaking out. We are afraid of what it may REQUIRE of us. We are afraid of being made uncomfortable or being looked at strangely. We are afraid of sacrificing time and money. We are afraid of sacrificing our selfishness.

We are afraid.

I think, especially this Christmas, we need to be more aware of the itches in our hearts.

I think we need to be less afraid of what will come leaking out of them.

I think we'll be surprised when we do.


Laura Parker said...

Loved it....yep, there are a lot of times I don't scratch an itch. The scary part-the longer we go without scratching the harder it is to feel the itch. :)

TheStartPhoto said...

so, interesting fact... I had that exact quote taped to my phone for ever until I upgraded. great minds! :)

Denise Krebs said...

This is a beautiful post, Kelsey. I shared it with one of my students today and challenged him to read The Book Thief. Thanks for sharing that meaningful quote--especially meaningful this time of year.