I believe we–as humans–were made for a purpose. Our bodies are an astounding testament to it. Eyelashes, fingerprints, and the wrinkles we acquire as we age leave me in awe. Yet, there is one part of being a human I cannot get enough of, cannot appreciate enough: our beating hearts.

Every person I walk by, talk to, or choose to love has a living, thumping, jumping heart within them. And here is where the awe-inspiring beauty comes… each one of the hearts I pass by–even those I will never meet or see–carries within it individual stories, broken pieces, and the ability for anyone to care for it. The key is slowing down long enough to listen.

Oftentimes, I take intentional, quick-paced steps through life. Smiles abound and hearty laughter can be heard echoing throughout the day. But, I regularly fail to pull my fleeting feet back from taking a step forward.

Our heartbeat is heard when you and I remain, when you and I abide in the circumstances we find ourselves in.

The same can be said for others… when I step into the brokenness, into the strands of their story, all I can hear is the heartbeat, the sound of their soul. And what a vulnerable place it is.

In past moments, this place is what I hid from, the vulnerable parts of myself and others…the treasured, unseen places. I avoided opportunities to listen, to share in these relationships for years on end, until I had lost touch with the fabric of my own heart. Callused, dried out like the skin of a broken wound.

I ran.

Dear friend, you and I were made for more than to run from the sound of our own heartbeat or the symphony of heartbeats around us. We were made to listen.