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The buzzing of the city never gives way to silence like the kind I’ve grown accustomed to in my rural community. The rush of traffic, the cadence of people walking, the smell of food, and the high rise of the skyline keep my senses thrilled and my mind constantly alert.

At times, the sensations are so overwhelming that I keep my gaze forward, and my eyes on my destination.

And I miss everything.

On one particular day, as I walked with my son and daughter across a parking lot after a trip to the bookstore, my son looked down at the asphalt below us and exclaimed, “Look, Mom, it’s a heart!”

Sure enough, right below our feet, was the shape of a heart made from the scars on the patched-over, weather-worn pavement.

And for that moment in time, I forgot to breathe. Once again, my children showed me the beauty in the world that I pass by in my hurry. But, that wasn’t the only thing that stopped me where I stood.

In that worn and patched parking lot, I saw myself. I saw my life and my journey. A journey that has been fraught with pain and brokenness in addition to abundant blessings. I thought back to the days I wasn’t sure I could get out of bed, and the nights when I wasn’t sure the light would ever come back again.

I thought about the moments where I was certain no one could love the mess I was.

I thought about the shattered bits of my heart that I carried around inside me as I clung to the hope that somehow, someway the tattered remnants could be put back together again.

There, in that crude, heart shape in the middle of an urban parking lot, I realized that in my brokenness, it was Love that had been holding me together the whole time. Love was what had dressed my wounds, held me close, and breathed hope into my desperation. In the darkest nights, Love had shone the way. And Love had beckoned me to rise up when I thought I couldn’t.

In those moments when I was certain everything would fall apart, it had been Love binding it all together. Not my love, but Love greater than anything I could imagine.

Love was what held me together then, and Love is what holds me together now.