It’s under there, somewhere, the beating heart of the life that we all share.
It’s beneath the skin — the infinitely variegated surfaces that each individual shines up or oils down or covers with glitter or costume or camouflage.
It’s coequal with the head — the egg-shaped knobs that we each fill with wildly differing learnings, unbending certainties, irrational notions that are rational because they are Ours and irreconcilable with Theirs.
It supports the stomach, which drives each of us with our individual hungers and appetites and gut feelings and shaky fears — seven billion different stomachs, vying for infinite portions of food and shelter and wealth and power on a finite planet.
But the heart of life is the source organ that animates and warms all of us, keeping us all alive. It is perhaps the most uniform of organs; slight differences of course, but we all require this muscle to work. We all need this blood to move. And we will all shed this blood, too.
If all life can be seen as one great body, the beating heart is the organ that unites us all.
I know that the heart is not the actual seat of emotions. I know that it’s a tired metaphor. And perhaps, for humanity right now, the heart itself is tired — weary from the constant work of sending us all our lifeblood, only for us to waste it without a second thought.
But even so, here in the middle of space, on this blue dot, our hearts must always beat. And like it or not, no one’s heart is more important than another’s. No one gets to live without a heart that works tirelessly, transcendently, to keep their lifeblood in motion.
In this season of thanksgiving, I am overwhelmed with praise for this shared body of life. Despite the differences in all of us, I cling to the idea that we still share some common reality; some common humanity. And I cherish this beating heart, and the pool of common blood that flows through us all.