Welcome to Matters of the Heart

My heart is my most prized possession. I am a lover by nature - a lover of Jesus, a lover of people and I’ve come to be a lover of myself. I’m not just talking about love as a feeling. I’m talking about love as a verb, as an action. When I say I’m a lover, I mean that I am one who actively seeks to embody the love I profess.

In falling in love with myself, I’ve come to recognize that taking care of my heart is of utmost importance. My heart is my life force. Yes, it pumps blood to other organs and does the work of keeping life flowing through my veins. But it also holds the center of my emotional self - of my faith, of my belief in others, of the hope that I have in the collective power of humanity to make a difference for good. It’s no wonder that God chose to encase our hearts within our rib cage. She knew that it would need special protection because of the sacred role it plays in our lives.

I’ve also come to the sober truth that my heart is at higher risk for being broken - metaphorically and literally. Because I’m a lover by nature, I lead with my heart, with my feelings. This is a part of who I am and I offer no apology for it. Yet leading and living this way comes with risks.

As a black woman, I am also at a higher rate for having heart disease. It is more prevalent among us because some of the risk factors for developing it run rampant in our communities. So my heart is vulnerable to emotional and physical dis-ease. This reality is heightened because of my call as a pastoral leader. I love deeply and the ministry I engage in flows from my heart.

I don’t think I’m alone in this reality. So many black women in ministry are deeply feeling and profoundly loving beings. There are some of us who wear our emotions on our sleeve, while others of us have learned to compartmentalize our feelings from our thoughts. We have learned that too much feeling is a hindrance to our leadership, and truth be told, can lead to our very demise.

I’d like to propose another way of being. What if we attended to our hearts, giving them the care and compassion needed for us to flourish? What if we accepted our feelings and leaned into them instead of ignoring them or pushing them aside? What if we treated our heart as our most sacred organ and aligned our values and our life around this truth? What if we sought healing and wholeness for our hearts, which would then flow out of our beings and into our lives?

This column will provide space for reflection, renewal and restoration for our sacred hearts so that we might live, lead and love with our whole self.

Matters of the Heart...restoring hearts to wholeness, one woman at a time.

Grant Crusor

Chicago, IL