Life After Heart Failure: How to Listen to Your Life, Your Body, Your Heart

I had heard my heart during the echocardiogram.

Had laid there in a darkened room as the technician swept the wand back and forth across the chambers of this relentlessly brave ticker that consistently just keeps being consistent and doing it’s thing.

Laid there and listened to the rhythm of me: the swooshing beat, the atrioventricular valves closing, then the low frequency of the atria emptying blood into the lower chambers.

Then — the woosh of the ventricles pumping the blood out of the heart, the flaps of the aortic and pulmonary valves closing shorter, crisper.

I had laid there still, staring at the ceiling, listening for audible eddies. For swirling around resistant valves, for any abnormal extra sounds — that abnormality of all the extra — for any galloping, for the beating rush of the heart, like a horse’s hooves thundering toward everything that just keeps coming on.

Had the rhythm of me broken down, had all the filling and emptying of the chambers of me slipped into a sloshing chaos?

When is the last time you’ve stilled and listened to your heart?

When have you last stilled and listened long to the rhythm of your life?

When have you last listened to your body speak to your life?

Sometimes you aren’t listening to your body because you’re listening to everybody else’s expectations.

Running yourself down because you’re trying to keep up is one way to trip your priorities upside down.

Laying there under a thin hospital sheet in the dimmed room, listening only to the stillness and my heart beat echoing off walls, there it is:

The only way you can listen to your body — is not to be afraid of silence.

By silence, sanity is found. By silence, sense is made of things. By silence, satan is silenced and lives can listen to their Maker. Why — had I waited till literal heart failure to sit in a long, long stretch of clarifying silence?

You have to make time to be still — in order to make a life.

Yeah — I exhale on the hospital bed. The echocardiogram technician shifts the wand over another chamber.

You can’t be be afraid of turning down the noise of everything else in your life — so you can listen to the rhythm for your one life — and find the one you’re made for.

My heart beat is filling the screen, the small room: Swoosh. Swoosh.

Maybe I hadn’t been fully hearing God — because I hadn’t been fully listening to what was happening in my own heart?

My heart keeps drumming out its own steady, fierce beat: Woosh, Woosh.

Maybe I had needed to fall into literal heart failureso my life wouldn’t fail?

My heart beat’s amplified so loudly in a hospital room, it’s thrum is the only sound:

I blink it back in the room’s shadows, everything slowed down and stripped away to just my beating heart:

Life’s never about being seen — it’s about seeing God. And about God seeing us and revealing Himself to us.

Life’s never about climbing ladders higher — it’s about climbing higher up and deeper into God.

Life’s not about winning some race — it’s about resting in grace.

Life is not about growing in status— it’s about growing your soul.

Life’s not about growing your career, your bank account, your retirement fund, your platform, your status — life’s about growing your soul. 

That is the moment I knew my heart, no matter what, knew the strongest rhythm for the best life.

That is the moment I knew Christ who moves into the neighbourhood and dwells within, He beats Truth within. And He tells you to be still so you can hear the real rhythm and meaning of being.

So I come home to fully live.

I come home, pull dandelion weeds out of the garden and pick a handful of the boisterous zinnias that Kai planted last spring and I put them in an old jar, and set them by the sink.

Listen to your absurdly glorious life.

Listen to the holy heart of your one sacred life.

You need to take time to listen to your life —

so you can make the life you need.

I come home to cut carrots in the kitchen window’s slanting sunlight and dish up shepherd’s pie around the table and I come home to be small and love large because getting to be present to love your people’s hearts is your great gift.

Life’s not about growing in status— it’s about growing your soul.

I come home to hear rain fall steady on old roofs and pick up the remnants of dirty laundry shed off moulting teenagers, listen to the lilting glory of her laughter when she runs full tilt across the house.

None of this might ever have been at all, so why blithely miss the miracle of it all?

You’re growing a soul.

Come home to your life and listen to the mystery of it and press your ear up against the Word-voice of God and witness the very growing of your own soul and be still long enough to drink down all this ordinary glory and hear your heart keep beating how all is grace.



When you Go into Heart Failure and it Turns out to be a Metaphor for All The Things Right Now


Pick up our story of The Broken Way and how to love a brokenhearted world. This one’s for all of us who have felt our hearts break a bit…

This one’s for the brave and the busted and the real and dreamers and the sufferers and the believers.

This one’s for those who dare to take The Broken Way… into abundance