The choir’s rendition of great love songs was like a scrapbook of my youth. The doo-wop songs were American Bandstand classics. As a pre-teen, all I wanted was to find that boyfriend who was going to love me in the still of night or go walking by my house, late last night.
And when the boys ensemble performed “My Girl,” I almost swooned as I recalled the countless Friday night Sock Hops at Cass High School gym. I can still see myself – mouth full of braces and a poor attempt at a Marlo Thomas flip hair-do — waiting for “the one” to ask me to dance. Since Daddy was the principal and Mama was the guidance counselor, many of “the ones” were afraid to approach me. At least that’s what I told myself!
Back to the moment. The choir, under the direction of Brenda Sue Holcombe, was a hit. The luncheon supports the church’s outreach program and I’ll never miss it again. Great food, good friends and spectacular music was worth a whole lot more than the price of a ticket.
This week it was good to be back in west Georgia just in time for Valentine’s Day. I can think of no other community than exudes more love than this corner of the world.
On Tuesday night, I was treated to dinner at Sunset Hills, hosted by Milestone. If you haven’t eaten at the club in a while, you are missing a culinary delight. The highlight of the evening was listening to a presentation by Joe Calavito. I have to be honest. As a professional speaker and speech coach, I can be a little skeptical of motivational speakers. Joe’s message about the power of love was not only inspirational, but humorous and heart-touching. I’d do well to take speaking lessons from him.
On Wednesday, I had the honor of speaking at the Ephesus Library. Donna Alvis and staff went all out – decorating with hearts and flowers and providing a luscious brunch for guests. As I put together my presentation, I was a little stumped. After listening to Joe, I wasn’t sure I had a strong enough love message. Finally, I settled on the theme of taking care of our hearts, but I didn’t talk about the physical heart. Instead, I shared a message about taking care of the emotional heart.
Through the course of living I’ve discovered a few things about the heart. I’ve learned that my heart functions at its best when I’m grateful, happy and kind.
When life throws me a curveball and fear takes hold, I make a list of all the things I am grateful for alongside a list of my worries. My friend, Retha Swain, taught me this and I’ve discovered that the gratitude list is always much longer than the worry list.
The experts reveal that a happy heart is a healthy heart. When we are happy, we are more productive, more creative, and people are more attracted to us. Who didn’t know that honey attracts more flies than vinegar? Here’s a tip: stuff doesn’t make us happy, experiences do! Plan more fun experiences in life.
And kindness? Oh my, that may be the saving grace of the world – both locally and universally. When we share the gift of kindness, the impact is exponential.
Several years ago I was hugging one of my grandsons when he looked up at me and said, “Gran-Gran, did you know that when certain people hug you it fills up your heart a certain number of spaces?” I was temporarily at a loss for words. That night I asked him, “So, how many spaces are in your heart? Holding his fingers out, he replied, “Ten,” and then continued, “But Gran-Gran, seven have to be filled for you to feel good.”
Oh my! This profound insight by a 7-year-old has given me pause many a time.
I am constantly reminded of the need to fill up heart spaces – mine and the hearts of those around me. Now, as a Southerner, I could go around hugging people to fill up heart spaces. However, I have discovered that in certain situations this can get you in trouble! So what about filling heart spaces in other ways? Such as: showing sincere thanks; helping more and judging less; lending a hand to someone struggling; or more importantly, simply listening with your whole presence?
This week is a reminder of how much we depend on love to live our best. And it’s not always the romantic kind of love we need.
If you are like me – and I bet many of you are – it is the heart love that brings us great health, joy and peace. So, as you continue this Valentine’s week, may you experience and spread gratitude, happiness and kindness. You might discover your heart is healthier.
Being back in west Georgia fills my heart spaces. Hope to see you at the doo-wop show performed by CHS chorus later this month!
Share your favorite heart-space story with Shirley at DrShirl@ShirleyGarrett.com