200 to 425 grams of muscle. What is the thread that binds this vital organ to our most powerful emotions? “He plays the game with a lot of heart.” “She ripped my heart out.”
Of course, we certainly can’t overlook the most obvious emotion with the strongest links to the heart.
Why don’t we reference these emotions with the lungs, or better yet, the brain? The brain would make perfect sense. After all, aren’t emotions just a compilation of thoughts? I believe the answer lies in the fact that a person’s heartbeat actually increases in the presence of powerful emotions. I know it certainly did with me, the first time I met my wife, Shelly.
The beating of my heart increased dramatically the first time I laid my eyes on her. I was sitting in the pub with my best friend Frank and his fiancé, Donna. I was to be Frank’s best man in the couple’s upcoming wedding, and tonight we were getting together over drinks to discuss some of the wedding plans. Oh, yeah, and I was to meet Donna’s sister and maid of honor, Shelly. That short meeting changed my life forever.
The attraction was, on my part, immediate. And why not? She was pretty, outgoing, friendly and clever. We were immediately comfortable with each other, and the conversation flowed like a wide sleepy river in the early morning fog. There were no pauses, no awkward moments.
“Ski? I love to ski! You too? Hey, maybe we should…”
“No, I don’t smoke, why do you ask?” And why did she say “that’s good”? Could she possibly be interested?
Shelly lived in Cranbrook at the time, and had come back to Sparwood for a few days to visit old friends. Visiting old friends turned into visiting a new friend, as we took the opportunity to become better acquainted. By the end of the visit, I was head over heels in love.
And then I blew it.
“Oktoberfest? In Kimberley? Sure thing, Shelly, sounds like fun!” Wow, she really was the girl of my dreams. I’ve never been to an Oktoberfest before, but I hear they’re a blast.
I was right. Oktoberfest was a blast. Well, for me, anyway. Determined to show her what a fun loving guy I was, I overshot the runway and got totally wasted. Puking-in-the-ice-cream-bucket-on-the-way-home wasted. I awoke the next morning to a mouth full of cotton and a feeling of dread; I couldn’t remember much but had a feeling I probably made a fool out of myself. I immediately phoned to apologize, but she didn’t pick up the call. She told Donna I was a jerk, and I went into full damage control.
For two years.
I did a lot of soul searching during that time. While I viewed myself as a happy-go-lucky party guy, my self-examination revealed something less attractive. Although not ready to place an ‘alcoholic of the month’ trophy on my mantle, I was definitely heading in that direction. I had a glimpse of a better life, one I wanted desperately.
During those two long years everything I did had a purpose – to win Shelly back.
I gave my life a makeover. Evenings in the gym replaced the evenings in the pub. I took up racquetball, and soon discovered how people get addicted to running. My one regret during this period of my life was turning my back on some friends. Some very good friends. It would have been far too easy to slip back into party mode. The makeover must be complete. I simply faded away.
On December 5 of this year we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and Shelly’s influence on my life continues. If left unchecked, my decisions would undoubtedly result in my couch becoming permanently attached to my body, and a bag of Lay’s potato chips would qualify as my daily quota of veggies. The infatuation of that first meeting has long since passed, but a deeper love has taken its place. One borne of respect and admiration.
Someone once asked if things hadn’t worked out, would I have been willing to wait another two years to win her over? That was an easy one to answer, of course I would.
In a heartbeat.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Shelly!
“Hearts (Explored!) qthomasbower @ flickr. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.