Tonight is the full moon. What does that have to do with hearts? What does anything have to do with hearts? Love blossoms under the full moon. So do werewolves who strike fear in the heart. The heart is the seat of love, yet it is a muscle that is subject to attack. Does love go away when the heart fails and is replaced. I think not.
We say someone has heart. We all know people who have good hearts. People who put their heart into the family. People who put their heart into their work. We’ve heard of full hearts. And most of us have suffered heartbreak, and survived. What does it all mean? And why is the heart the seat of so many emotions and phrases?
To get to the heart of the matter, and this is only my two cents of course, I think it is because the heart is more or less the center of the body. It is the mechanism that makes everything else work. If the heart stops…
In the movie Dirty Dancing. Patrick Swayze tells Jennifer Grey that the tango is like a heartbeat. He takes her hand and places it over his heart and together they count his heartbeats. “Ca chung, ca chung”, Like a heartbeat,” he says. To me, that was the sexiest scene in the movie. I felt my heartbeat right along with his.
That’s my definition of heart. If someone can make you feel an emotion, they have heart. The character can be in a movie. A character you know is created, but for that brief moment, they have you. You are in the palm of their hand. It can happen in a book. I recently cited the Little Prince on another blog. My copy of that wonderful book is so annotated and dog-eared that the pages are practically parchment. In it, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s fox tells the Little Prince the secret. ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’
What is essential is invisible. That is heart. The best of us. The inner voice, our sixth sense. If we try and fail, but did our best, we have heart. If we try to measure our lives by acts of secret or overt kindness, we have heart. If we have empathy with friends and strangers, we have heart. Heart is the fourth dimension of our characters. It’s what keeps readers interested in them and what brings them back to a series or an author.
Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden had heart. Sky King had heart. Miss Kitty and Marshall Dillon had heart. Heart made each of them real, even though we knew they never existed. For us, they did. Gandhi and his daughter both had heart. Jimmy Carter has heart. My best friends, Darlene and Judi have heart. My boss, Richard, has heart.
What characters, real, literary, or cinematic have heart for you? Are you more inclined to follow characters and friends who have heart?