Issue 101 / September - October 2014
If Only I Know You, My Heart...
Sumayya B. Sharaf
"Hello my heart, I am your neighbor in this body," said my soul. "How are you? Why do you hurt today?"
After that question, I found myself at the doctors.
"If your heart is OK, then your body is OK," she told me with worrying eyes.
"I've never had pain in my chest for this long," I told her. "It feels as if somebody is sitting on my heart. But if I put my hand on my chest, that warmth helps to alleviate the pain."
She was concerned. We stopped and she urged me to go to the ER immediately.
"I need to pray," I told her. "It will take ten minutes and I will be at the hospital praying room. There are always a few people there, so don't worry."
She nodded. "I believe in the power of the prayer and meditation," she added. And she ensured that I see a specialist for the chest pain.
I left that building and crossed the road to go to the other building. I was holding my heart, thinking the metaphors that we think of as a mundane saying. None of the metaphorical descriptions were solely poetry or were merely linguistic elaboration. Rather, they all meant what is untold and unseen and indescribable. At that moment I realized this heart was given to me. I was doing my best for a month to satisfy her needs and to ease her tension. But she was behaving as a separate and independent unit that has her own free will. I realized this for the first time in my life. Maybe the metaphor for this case would be extending a helping a hand to my heart, or to surround her with muscles. Maybe I forced too much on her, or did not appreciate the help my individual organs, my body as a whole, have given me.
That night, a friend of mine, not knowing what I had been thinking during the day, told me that we should talk to our bodies. "You should thank your feet that carried you all those years, my friend," she said. "You should appreciate your eyes, which never gave up on you. You should thank your arms and hands since you would be speechless without them as a writer. You should thank your brain, for she listened to her Owner all these years and served you to be a better human every day." "You know," I added, "you are so right. After all, the one who cannot thank people and things cannot thank their Owner, the Beautiful, the Merciful, the Wise, the Choice Maker!"
I have been reading a lot lately. But there is something we learn from life and other people that no book can cover. Thus, I believe humankind is a unique book, its own kind of scripture. Humans read the universe with one eye, and the Scriptures with the other. Thus, we are given double eyes. And humans stand at the conjunction of these two books of meaning, being ourselves the third book which is uniquely because it is not just a book to read but also a reader. The more humans read these two books, the more we become a readable book.
So what is written in me? I suppose the basis of all lines is this sentence I heard from my doctor today: Save your heart, if the heart is good then your body and mind will be healthy. I wish I knew the language of the heart that would make my body healthy and would make my mind a reader and my self a book. The heart is at the center of human life, both in the physical and metaphysical senses. The heart is at the heart of the fact that humankind is a book to be read and discovered. The heart defines what we feel and motivates us in life. The heart defines which way the mind will travel. The heart is the teacher of the mind. Do you think we can unravel the language of the heart?