Starting Point
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Issue Date:  April 8, 2005

Starting Point


One day I found something that someone had lost. It was small and there was a shine to it, so it was easy to spot as I walked down the long magnolia-lined entrance to the monastery.

It was a silver heart, solid and perfect in shape. I picked it up and looked at it carefully. It was not engraved. I put it in my pocket and continued my walk. I felt the heart as I walked and there was a cool, smooth feel to it.

I posted a note on the bulletin board of the retreat house and its owner got in touch with me. She was still on retreat. She thanked me and told me that she was so upset when she discovered she had lost that heart. “There is a world of memories to that small heart,” she said.

I later thought about finding that silver heart on the road. Whatever I had been thinking about no longer mattered. Indeed, the road took on such a different sense with that heart lying there, until someone would pick it up and, one would hope, return it to its owner. I wondered as to the love for which it was carried. I wondered if that love was still alive, or lost, or yet to be, or given away to someone else. I never found out -- the silver heart was given back to its owner with all its secrets.

God is tenderhearted for the lost. Life that wanders is found by God.

The road of life is long and we often lose our way or become discouraged. We easily forget that Jesus walked this road, too.

I like to think he leaves his heart in many places along the way. When we find it, it is meant to be picked up. It is ours to keep, to remind us that as we journey with each other we do that best when we walk with heart. We share who we are with the love God has poured into our hearts. Love eases the miles.

Fr. James Stephen Behrens is a monk at Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, Ga.

National Catholic Reporter, April 8, 2005

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