Trends: The Heart—A Symbol Of Love And Health



 

The heart has represented love for many centuries. Why did this particular organ get all the love, leaving the lungs, spleen and liver out to dry?

During the 14th century, people thought of their hearts as books of memory, believing that the feelings for a beloved were somehow written on the heart. There were stories imagining female saints whose hearts were cut open after their death, and inside their hearts were inscriptions indicating their love for God.

The more familiar modern heart shape appears to have come from an Italian poem Documenti d’amore that went viral in the 14th-century. One of its illustrations depicts a naked cupid standing on the back of a galloping horse throwing arrows, roses and hearts at bystanders. Shortly after its publication, the scalloped red heart began appearing in other works of visual art and in tapestries.

Hearts can be broken, purple, left in San Francisco, found in poker games, and used religiously as in Sacre' Coeur and immaculate heart. They ache, flutter, race and sing. There is the heartland, being young at heart, big hearts and heartless.

Cyber vocabulary treats the heart as love in messaging and tweets with heart Emojis that appear with a touch of a finger, expressing amour.

During the month of February, we celebrate the heart and love on Valentine's Day. This special day for lovers was named after Saint Valentine, who was imprisoned in Rome for performing weddings of soldiers and ministering to Christians who were being persecuted by the Empire. Legend has it that while imprisoned, Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer and before he was executed wrote the girl a letter of farewell signed "Your Valentine."

My heart has always been a source of strength, performing without much attention through the years. Of course it has been broken a few times, but has always recovered, as good as new for the next experience of love or disappointment.

Recently, I noticed that my "ticker" wasn't beating with its usual rhythm and at times raced like I was running a marathon. Was it due to being out of shape, heredity, my weight, stress (who me?) or was my heart telling me something? Normal EKGs did not provide any clues and as a precaution medicine was recommended for cholesterol and blood pressure along with a baby aspirin for thinning the blood. I was also provided a heart monitor for a month. That didn't seem to be a big deal until the sensor was glued to my chest and I couldn't be 10 feet away from an iPhone data collector. I have taken to wearing the collector in my fashionable hipster belt in order to keep track of it and not set off any alarms or warning phone calls. Waiting for the results from my cardiologist has given me new respect for my heart. It sort of runs the show! This February my Valentine message is to my own heart. I ♥ my ♥!

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