February 2022 Editor's Note: Above All Else
by stephanie toews, executive editor
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Ah, February, the month of love and hearts, chocolates, flowers, and cupid…or, more noteworthy, American Heart Month. We've devoted this issue to healthy and happy hearts in honor of this. From the place where blood flows throughout our bodies to the beauty of the human emotion and its ability to love, break, and heal, the heart is truly a remarkable thing worth guarding and protecting.
In our early years of marriage, my husband and I had so much figuring out to do. I often looked to my dad for support and to possibly talk some sense into him. It turns out he talked some sense into me through some advice that I’ll never forget- look at his heart. Sounds simple enough, but what did Dad mean? To focus less on the fumbling and learning and expectation of what I thought love and married life should look like, and more on the intention of his heart- where he was coming from. You see, my husband really did love me, and he was doing his very best in his new role, whether he hit the mark every time or not. Doing so resulted in a much more peaceful environment and willingness on both parts to keep trying to do better and understand what each other needs to feel loved; our love language. I’ve since carried this advice through decades of life and applied it to numerous relationships.
What if we looked more at people’s hearts than being critical of the way they’re figuring things out? We are all learning as long as we are alive, and I’ll bet that if we knew the hearts of others, we’d have a lot more love and compassion towards them. After all, each of our life experiences shapes our belief systems, relational tendencies, and how we interact with the world around us.
So how do we get to know the hearts of others? By taking the time to listen instead of assume, asking questions that encourage understanding and growth. Simply put, give people the benefit of the doubt; assume the best instead of the worst. If these past two years have taught us anything, it’s that life is far too short to get bent out of shape over things that truly have no long-term value.
We hope you enjoy this issue filled with stories of heart matters, both literally and figuratively.