Two team members are dead.
The third rests against a tree, mortally wounded. His last words are to tell his wife how much he loves her,
“and that I died with my brothers…with a full heart”
From the movie Lone Survivor.
The scene and those words are stuck in my head.
What does it mean to die with a full heart?
And how do you get a full heart?
Yes, movies are designed to pull your heart strings. But it was based on a true story. And that scene got me thinking and remembering my grandfather.
I was with him when he died. I’d known him my whole life. He didn’t do life perfectly, but he gave every bit of himself to every day that he lived. He lived wholeheartedly.
And maybe that’s the key – to die with a full heart, you must live with a whole heart.
I can’t speak with authority about the soldier in the movie, but we know he had family he loved. He was committed and well trained for the mission. He fought to survive, to help his brothers survive. I’m sure he would rather have lived. But in the end, perhaps knowing he had given everything he had was enough to let go in peace, with a full heart.
I love the way John Ortberg talks about wholeheartedness in his book, All The Places To Go. In it he says,
“I have never heard a football coach ask his team to go out on the field and give it 90 percent. You can’t imagine a great leader standing before the team and saying, “Now go out and give it…most of what you’ve got.”
No. It needs to be all you’ve got.
I’m not always good at that. But I’m learning.
The professional soldier may be the ultimate example – – giving full on, everything you have, knowing you may die. Doing it anyway.
Most of us are not soldiers. But there are still a million little ways to fill up the heart.
I think it boils down to the commitment to love one another. To be courageous, even if you’re fearful.
It’s going after that college degree, ignoring the set-backs and critics, and not stopping until diploma is in hand.
It’s offering the hug, the apology, the “Hi, I’ve missed you”, knowing it may be rejected. Doing it anyway. And keeping a joyful heart even if…
It’s raising your children, taking care of your parents, and not knowing how it will end. It’s getting in the truck headed north and trusting God with the outcome. It’s learning you can be afraid and brave at the same time.
It’s knowing you’re worthy and loveable, even when you’ve messed up. Especially when you’ve messed up… and you didn’t let it defeat you.
It felt like a gift to be with my grandfather in his last moments of life. I was devastated to loose him and oddly filled with hope at the same time. It was like all the love and beauty inside that one man broke open. It spilled across the room and onto every person in it.
His heart was full and he couldn’t help but share it.
As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the man. Proverbs 27:19