Red prisms, beautiful prisms really, splashed on white linoleum.

Blood sprayed between my fingers, hitting the kitchen window, and I remember the way it fell smooth, leaving only a watery shimmer behind as the red drops slid closer to the window sill.

I laughed.

I still remember that laughter. The intense joy that erupted from way down as my family gathered around, a scream sitting restless on my mother’s lips.

“I want the heart,” I had told my dad that afternoon as he stood by the hanging corpse.

“It’s right here. Come get it.” He motioned with the tip of his knife, and I slowly approached.

I rolled the sleeves up both arms and reached in.

A nervous chuckle escaped as I squished my way around the still warm heart. I clutched the knife and cut slowly, meticulously, stopping once in a while to scoop pooling blood from the body cavity.

Prize in hand, I climbed back on the four-wheeler and made my way to the house.

Later that evening, standing at the kitchen sink, I demonstrated the way a heart, more specifically, a pig’s heart worked to my family.

That was the moment I knew.

I held the aorta to the faucet and filled the heart with water and tried my best to explain how each ventricle contracted, where each of the valves were, and how this amazing thing actually ran on electrical impulses.

Their faces lit up in temporary fascination but mine never disappeared.

I thought about this the other day as I stood in the med lab, dressed in blue and white scrubs, listening to korotkoff sounds of the heart.

“Duane, do you want to specialize in cardio?” my teacher asked and I wondered how she was so in tune to my interests.

Because in all honesty, I knew I wanted to do this since I was fourteen years old.

As I drove home that day, I wondered about this fascination with the heart.  Why did I choose that muscle to be intrigued with out of all the muscles in the body?

One word kept running tireless circles in my head.

Broken-hearted.

Then I understood.

Because I know how it feels to stand looking at all of beauty kissed by God and still feel dead inside.  I know what it feels like to be stabbed so hard in the back by friends until I’m left clutching my chest in hurt, the sharp tip of betrayal gripped between my fingers.  I know what it feels like to fall lifeless to my knees, reaching for Someone to give new life.

“But what about those that don’t have that Someone to reach for when all life is gone?” God asks me, the question hanging there, harmonizing with the hum of the tires.

That’s when I knew my child-hood fascination with the heart was only given by Him.  And why my dad handed me the knife when I asked for the heart. And why my mother allowed a bloody pig heart to be hooked to her kitchen faucet.

Because the Great Physician needed an assistant. 

 

— Duane Scott

when we are called to assist

by Duane Scott time to read: 3 min
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