noun 1. Anatomy . a hollow, pumplike organ of blood circulation, composed mainly of rhythmically contractile smooth muscle, located in the chest between the lungs and slightly to the left and consisting of four chambers
I couldn’t find a direct answer, but by my best estimate, Britton Grace, born the smallest of the Fab Five at 2 pounds, 2 ounces, had a heart that weighed less than 11 thousandths of an ounce when she made her entrance into this world. 11 THOUSANDTHS of an ounce!! That’s 0.011 for those who need the numbers to better visualize what I’m talking about here. And for comparison, the best answer I could find for the weight of an acorn is 0.102 ounces. In other words, if I am even remotely close on my estimates, Britton’s heart at the time she was born weighed nearly 10 times less than an acorn.
Go outside and look under the nearest oak tree and you are sure to find plenty of acorns. Pick one up and feel for yourself. Toss it in the air a few times and again, feel it. What is it that you feel other than…nothing. Beyond the smooth outer shell, there is nothing more to feel because it weighs practically nothing. And yet one of the most powerful organs in the human body and one of the most important organs responsible for Britton’s survival on a moment-by-moment basis was a mere David to the acorn’s Goliath.
noun 2. the center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion
The estimate that I found for the weight of the heart was that this mighty little organ makes up a miniscule 0.5% of a human’s weight. And though it is tiny, it plays quite a role in maintaining our vital functions everyday. But the heart’s job is actually pretty simple – it is a pump. It collects, divides, and then distributes blood…all day, everyday, this is all that is expected of our hearts. By contrast, the brain is bigger, heavier, and is involved with every tiny little fragment of our beings. Nothing happens in our bodies without the brain first telling it what to do, when to do it, and how it would like it done. If it weren’t for the brain, the heart would not know how much blood to collect, how to separate the blood, and how much to distribute…in short, the heart wouldn’t even know it was a heart unless the brain told it to be a heart! And yet somehow, in spite of all that we know about the brain’s role in making us who we are, it is the heart that has come to be defined as “the center of the total personality.”
What can be said about Britton Grace that hasn’t already been said? She is nothing if not a lightening rod for commentary. In the NICU she was Britton Bright Eyes because she never, ever, ever wanted to close her little eyes and go to sleep. She was also known, even at her super-tiny size and super-fragile age to be a bit fussy and high maintenance. She didn’t eat much because when she did, she usually threw it all back up and subsequently had to stay in the NICU about a month longer than her sisters and brother. And when she finally got home we soon learned how mighty this itty-bitty baby promised to be…she is a Texas personality in a Rhode Island body, a teapot with a tempest’s temerity…a Goliath in a David body!
To say that raising Britton has been a challenge would be to say that China has a lot of people, that the pyramids in Egypt are old, or that Republicans and Democrats in Congress have intimacy issues. The girl packs a punch in her diminutive frame and when she is upset you know it…and so do the neighbors! Irrational? Yes! Quick-tempered? Yes again! Feisty? Yep! Theatrically expressive when angry? Yes! At times completely and totally blinded by her rage? Uh…yes. I have often commented that Britton seems to have been born with a tormented spirit because she can at times be so inexplicably angry that we are at a complete loss for understanding.
But then she flips a switch inside somewhere and she is suddenly unbelievably cheerful…loving…super sweet…and an absolute joy! She has always been the best cuddler of the bunch, has always given the best, head-on-your-shoulder, squeeze-you-tight-and -don’t-let-go hugs, and she has a smile that can brighten the hardest heart on a cold, dark day. No matter what it is – whether it is her favorite color (yellow), her favorite Wizard of Oz character (Scarecrow because he is yellow), her favorite stuffed animal (first, Bingo the dog then Simba the lion (because he is yellow)), or her displeasure with the cap she was wearing in her infant photos hanging on the walls (it wasn’t yellow), the cup/plate she is given (not yellow), or the hairband chosen for her to wear (you guessed it – not yellow) – she is all in, 100%, with everything she has.
Put simply, she is all heart…
synonyms: firmness, fortitude, grit, guts, hardihood, intestinal fortitude, mettle, moral fiber, nerve, pluck, resolution
God chose to put inside each of us a mighty little organ which, though it is trivial in size, plays a mighty role in the story of you and us. And isn’t that how God works? He is the one who gave us the story of David and Goliath. He is the one who noticed Zacheus, “the wee little man,” and made him part of his story. He is the one who gave us an infant for a savior…
Knowing all of this, why are we surprised when God wraps powerful persistence, personality, and perseverance into pint-sized packages?
And so, Casey and I take Britton’s more challenging temperamental attributes with a prayer and a smile. We smile because we know that God works mightily through the itty-bitty’s of the world. And we pray because…well, because she’s crazy and we need all the help we can get!!!! :)