In the early morning hours of July 29th, back in 1981, I was a groggy headed, awkward twelve year girl sneaking my way down my grandparents' dark hallway with excited determination to watch the live televised broadcast of the royal wedding. I was eager and down right giddy to witness the beautiful lady Di become a real life princess. I soaked in every minute wondering what it would be like . . . to be all grown up and to walk down that amazing aisle in her wedding slippers. So many dreams and wonderful wishes for the newlywed couple. The future looked so very bright and happy. Since I was raised on Disney films, I genuinely believed in the fairytale version of happily ever after.
Jump ahead thirty-four years and I now find myself a forty-six year old wife, mother of two boys and cancer survivor. A lot has happened since that royal wedding day. I finally got to be "all grown up" and discovered life was much more difficult than I imagined as a young preteen. Marriage was hard, being a parent was hard and sometimes just getting through the day was an accomplishment in and of itself. I soon realized the fairytale was just that, a big tale. So I learned to do my best and keep going day after day, trying to make wise decisions and choices.
Then all of the sudden and without warning, there it was, the upsetting eighteen year old headline laid out on my dining room table, that brought back a flood of memories. We were celebrating my nephew's eighteenth birthday, when after dinner he opened up his time capsule that my husband had prepared for him after his birth. Immediately my heart was heavy and sad just looking over the front page. I realized I was now ten years older than the Princess that I grew up watching. She died at the young age of thirty-six, way too soon.
After her death, she was referred to as the Queen of Hearts and The People's Princess. It was ironic that she died of injuries to her heart, more specifically a tear in the left pulmonary vein that connected blood flow from her left lung to her heart. She was quoted as saying, "Follow your heart." That always sounded good, for she was well known for her many acts of kindness, good works, charity and a deep love for her two boys.
While recovering from my cancer surgery, I decided to read two books, The Day Diana Died by Christopher Anderson and Diana by Andrew Morton. I had bought the books about a year after her passing but had never read them until the late summer of 2013. I felt so much empathy for her and also deep sadness over choices made by her and others that ultimately lead to her death.
I won't dissect her life and point out her mistakes, for hindsight is 20/20 and none of us want our lives to be examined and judged by others that have never walked in our shoes. I can, however, dissect my own experiences with following my heart and share the hard lessons I have learned. My heart has very selfish tendencies and that has gotten me in trouble many times. Which often makes me wonder, does any one of us have a truly good heart that can be a dependable compass for leading us in the right direction? My heart wants what it wants and it wants to run wild and untamed, but that means others will get hurt and ultimately, I will pay a heavy price as well.
I recently read an article titled, Don't Follow Your Heart by Jon Bloom and was rather relieved that I wasn't alone in my thoughts on this subject. If only my heart was as good as I desire it to be. My heart is like a lion in a circus cage, and the trainer with the whip is my human efforts to keep things under control. Just looking at the magazine covers below reminds me that my heart was obsessed with Diana around the time of her death. I had seen her images all through my growing up years, yet I never really knew her but felt as though I had. It was strange. When she died in 1997, I was twenty-eight and coming out of a very bad and self destructive phase of my life. I was starting to listen less to the yearnings of my heart and pay more attention to the voice I had first known as young child.
As I was going through these magazines, I found the book, Invitation to a Royal Wedding by Kathryn Spink that my mother had bought for me. I was in awe of the prayers that were spoken that day over the young couple. The line . . . open the hearts . . . to the riches of his grace, especially jumped off the page to me.
The One to follow wants to come into our hearts and make His dwelling there. He knows all our hearts are in need of Him and so I will trust Him, He who is faithful and true, to lead me instead of following my heart, which has failed me before so many times.
Proverbs 3:5-7 - Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (KJV
Proverbs 4:23 - Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.
For more of The Word on Following Your Heart, click on this link.
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