The Heart

The Heart

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Heart

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched . . . but are felt in the heart.

Helen Keller

My wife and I separated in late December and, as you might expect, I had a very difficult January. During a therapy session to help me handle the emotional turmoil stirred up by the split, I asked my therapist to give me something to help me in my new life. I had no idea whether she would agree and, if she did, I had no idea what she might offer.

I was happy that she immediately did agree and, as I expected, she gave me something totally unexpected! She handed me a heart, a small handmade Play-Doh® heart, brightly and lovingly painted. It had been given to her by a previous male client who had also gone through a divorce and who, like myself, had difficulty accessing his feelings. She added that it was not for me to keep, but only to hold onto until I got my own heart. Then I must return it to her. I understood that she was giving me a physical heart as a visual goal or as some kind of material representation of my own quest for a richer emotional life. I accepted it with anticipation of deeper emotional connections to come.

Little did I realize how quickly that wonderful gift would actually start to work.

After the session, I placed the heart carefully on the dash of my car and drove excitedly to pick up my daughter Juli-Ann, for this was the first night that she would be sleeping over at my new home. As she got into the car, she was immediately drawn to the heart, picking it up, examining it and asking me what it was. I was unsure whether I should explain the full psychological background because, after all, she was still a child. But I decided that I would tell her.

“It’s a present from my therapist to help me through this difficult time and it is not for me to keep, but only to have till I get my own heart,” I explained. Juli-Ann made no comment. I wondered again if I should have told her. At 11 years old, could she understand? What possible idea could she have of the huge chasm I was attempting to bridge to break my old patterns and develop deeper, richer loving connections with people?

Weeks later, when my daughter was again at my home, she handed me my Valentine’s Day present early: a small box that she had painted red, tied daintily with a gold band, topped by a chocolate that we shared. With anticipation, I reached into the pretty little box. To my surprise, I pulled out a Play-Doh® heart that she had made for me and painted. I looked quizzically at her, wondering what it meant. Why was she giving me a replica of what my therapist had given me?

Then she slowly handed me a card she had made. She was embarrassed about the card but then finally allowed me to open it and read it. It was a poem far beyond her years. She had understood totally the meaning of the gift from my therapist. Juli-Ann had written me the most touching and loving poem I have ever read. Tears flooded my eyes and my heart burst open:

For My Dad

Here is a heart
For you to keep
For the big leap
You’re trying to take.

Have fun on your journey.
It might be blurry.

But when you get there,
Learn to care.

Happy Valentine’s Day
Love, Your Daughter, Juli-Ann

Above all my material wealth, I count this poem as my most sacred treasure.

Raymond L. Aaron

More stories from our partners