The Gradual Metanoias
By: Sydney Disselkamp
‘Metanoia’ is a Greek word meaning a “change of heart.” It doesn’t necessarily mean a life shattering revelation, a lightbulb moment, or a move across the world to hug children in a third world country. The biggest changes can occur close to home in the daily grind. In choosing love in the interactions with the checker at the grocery store, the barista at your favorite coffee nook, the runner sweating next to you at the gym, or the co-worker you rub elbows with, your heart doesn’t just beat for you. It beats for others and feeds life not only to your body, but the souls of others.
Life experiences form the heart, too, and God has put each person in a certain place on this good green earth for a reason. This life is paradoxically both fragile and resilient, and I am privileged in my workplace to be with people in their worst and best moments. The constant tug of war between idealism and realism could not be more apparent as I walk through the doors of the hospital as an ER and ICU nurse. In one room a devoted husband holds a vigil at the bedside of his sick wife, while across the hall a combative meth addict has security on call. Both rooms scream of brokenness, but one of a broken heart and the other of a broken soul. Oh the beauty in “loving until it hurts,” in the famous words of Mother Teresa. The ideal to love and make the world a more beautiful place is a strong call, but it is not for the faint of heart by any means. Light shines the brightest in darkness. Human suffering demands to be grappled with. Often it is a baffling, painful mystery, but if there is one way to deal with it, it is to love…in it, through it, all around it until the mystery is not so much why it exists, as it is how to keep putting one foot in front of the other by tapping into grace.
Life is not about collecting accomplishments or being ridiculously proficient at busy nothingness. Life is in the being, not in the doing. And so I am calling a truce with the present moment, and instead of ignoring it or selectively choosing pieces of it, in a spirit of peace and friendship, it’s time to embrace the whole kit and caboodle. Because it is in the moment-to-moment roller coaster ride between roses and thorns that life and virtue are born. These quiet changes of heart and mind reflect the beauty of the Creator and what a serendipitous gift that we are His creatures in this glorious creation.