Heart Habits

On my daily walk I either go to the woods or I walk in my neighborhood. Darkness, how much time I have and the weather usually helps make the choice for me. Lately, I’ve been walking mostly in the neighborhood.

If I’m walking in the right place at the right time, I see a ritual unfold at one of the homes down the street. Daddy comes out with a little boy about 3 or 4 years old. The little boy is bundled up in a cute coat with a hood over his ears, tied snuggly. Daddy goes to the car and the little boy positions himself on the sidewalk. When Dad backs the car out and heads down the street, the little bundled boy runs as fast as he can, racing his dad. He never wins. Within one house length the car passes him by. He stops, waves as big as his little arms will reach until his dad turns the corner. Then, always, he skips back to his house.

I love a good ritual. I treasure a routine. I’ve learned that my own routines carry me through those days when I’m sad, distracted, troubled or just non-energetic. I love the sameness and predictability of well-worn habits. I like not having to think about many of the things I do every day. Over time, I’ve grown my habits to be soul-feeding, healthy ones. Simply following the routine is good for me.

Today is Valentines Day, our day to celebrate love. I’m celebrating love of self, neighbors, family, friends, significant others and God.

My little neighbor has captured it all:  He has a happy healthy routine. He knows how to love. I’ll bet he greets and sends off everyone he loves with equal joy. He has no need to win. And the skipping, the skipping home says it all.

Maya Angelou said people will feel our love if our eyes simply light up when they enter a room.

What are your daily love habits? Who makes your eyes light up? Who would put on their coat to race you, knowing they will never win? What makes you skip home? Who or what makes your heart sing? The answers to these questions are clues to your loves. Build your daily heart habits around those treasures.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three grown children, Mimosa/Mocha to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor.  

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