Fast Heart

by Josh Huber

If it were enough to have faith in the color of those slate blue clouds afar off–to believe in the beauty of the sunset colored autumn trees–to walk nearly skipping on downhill slant with yellow leaves tumbled by the wind leaping past–to hope for music–to love breathing and all that breathes–to be still and know what arrives–then I trust my heart would calm.

As it is I pray against my body’s mysterious rhythms. I request that God better measure the count, slow the time signature, slacken the pace. I lie down to sleep. Yet my heart sings its rowdy praises uptempo and thumping at the pipes in my chest’s tiny cathedral.

What is faith if not instrumental?
At convenient care I speak to friendly professionals. I answer many questions. I wait.

Eventually I sit on a papered chair, my right sleeve rolled up, while a nurse fails at her first and second excavations into a stingy vein. When the second needle goes pinching out, foggy dark puffs up into my head. I ask the nurse to lay me back.

Then black.

There are muddled thoughts and blurred visions I can’t quite recollect once the nurse’s voice brings me back to the room, the crackling chair, the fluorescent light, a remembrance of when and where. She says I’ve lost just fifteen seconds.

Alerted by the ruckus, a second nurse enters the room. She puts a cool cloth on my head. She finds a readier vein in my other arm and, all the while chatting with me about places to live and things to do, takes all the blood required. This without hardly a pinch or sting, leaving but a pin prick’s worth of red in the needled spot.

After the whole ordeal I feel inexplicably better.

Later I marvel at the purple-green bruises blooming on my right arm; I wonder at the skin untroubled on my left. Each is a testimony. I accept them both. There is faith enough for all this: for what works as expected and what does not, for the mystery and the plain truth, for certain and uncertain, for bruises and the invisible trace, for the heart too fast and the one finally slowed.

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