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July 15, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

Held in the Heart

It has not been well understood that our deepest injuries are not held in our memories or thoughts but in our hearts. It may appear to be a mental matter, but invariably it is held as heartache. Some years ago, I interviewed a pain physician who affirmed this when he said, “The greatest oversight of the medical community is the seriousness of heartache as a factor in health and well-being.”

I once observed this in a conversation with a young man I was coaching. He  could speak of his abusive childhood, but it was clear from his affect that he had not felt it. No wonder he came to me to overcome professional fears that were essentially matters of safety.

An aspect of Pitcairn’s path in the novel is to become acquainted with the heartache of the world as an entry point to his own. In that sense, A Killer’s Grace is a tale of compassion. For it to be real and to produce the best possible benefit, it must be directed both inwardly and outwardly. One cannot care for others without caring for oneself. And one cannot experience appropriate self-love without loving others.

In the end these are all matters of the heart because they are held in the heart.


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