Welcome to February's Spiritual Journey post. Our host is Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise. Her prompt for us is "heart." One definition for heart is courage, reminding me that the word for heart in French is coeur. Synonyms for courage include moxie, mettle, and spunk.
"You gotta have heart... miles and miles and miles of heart..." Remember that oldie? Listen here.
If anyone had heart, it was my sister Virginia. She was diagnosed with MS when she was 19, but for the next 50 years she refused to let it define her. She was an excellent student, specializing in botany with post grad work on lichens, and later taught high school biology. By her late 50s she was living alone in Minneapolis near a mall where she liked to shop in her electric wheelchair. On one cold excursion, her chair hit a bump in the sidewalk and she lurched forward onto the frozen ground. Fortunately, a compassionate driver stopped and got her back into her chair. Soon she got a LifeLine, and it came in handy when her chair jettisoned her headfirst into her closet. With no way to get up, she pushed the button and waited. When I registered concern she assured me that the rescuing firefighters were so handsome..."hot"... that she might need rescuing again.
Virginia's high school photo
Virginia never gave up. Several of us had to talk her out of an ill-conceived plan to go to Gambia with her attendant, but years after that she managed to go to Mexico for a weekend to attend a wedding. Her judgment was clouded; she asked to be taken into the ocean. How anyone would keep her afloat was not her concern, she just wanted the experience. Thank goodness no one indulged that fantasy.
Even when she seemed reckless, I admired her willingness to take a risk and have an adventure. Many in her condition would have confined themselves completely. Virginia had the heart to live. She gave life her all, and she did so with few complaints.
Virginia's birthday is this week. I'll be thinking of her, and along with sadness there will be plenty of pride and more than a few giggles. What a legacy she left behind! What heart!!!
A synonym for moxie is grit, and I've come to love this song called Grit and Grace:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”