All that we have is this moment. This moment, when we are taking a breath in, this moment, when we are leaving a breath out, this is all that matters. The past is a fragment of memory, and future a fragment of our imagination.
I Give You My Heart is an unassuming meditation on embracing the now. Written by Pimm van Hest, illustrated by Sassafras De Bruyn, and translated from the Dutch by Clavis Publishing, I Give You My Heart is a quiet book on interconnectedness, random act of kindness, and the incredible power of love.
A mysterious old man presents a wooden box to Yuto. His parents ask him to be patient, and wait for a little while, as Yuto is not able to open the box. When the right time arrives, and when the young boy opens the box, there is a heart-shaped seed. He plants it, gives his heart, and the tree becomes a large shelter for Yuto. He spends all his life there.
I love his conversation with a girl called Miyu.
One day, a young woman came and sat next to him. Yuto nodded politely and kept humming. “Why do you always sit here by yourself?” she asked. “By myself?” Yuto smiled. “Even if you were not sitting beside me, I wouldn’t be alone. Look and listen with your heart.”
He pointed up. Birds, squirrels, bugs, caterpillars… and the tree itself. They were all smiling at her. She blushed.
“We are never alone. Never.”
The poetic exchange reminds me of what the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said.
“Around us, life bursts with miracles — a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”
I Give You My Heart humbly holds our hands, and tells us to give our hearts to things which can free us of our anxieties, and worries. It asks us to pay attention to nature, and be patient for it to work in its own ways.
Love doesn’t have to be offered by our family, friends, and strangers. But even by a feral cat who lounges in our backyards, a stray dog who wags her tail when we return home, a butterfly who hitch-hikes with us, a feather that lands at our feet, a sparrow who tilts his head when we look at him, a leaf that floats in the air, a flower that flaunts colours, a cloud that asks us to guess its shape, and a tree that is too old.
I Give You My Heart can cheer us up when times are too dark. In a very few words, it offers solace, hope, and a lot of light.
Note: I picked up this children’s fiction on Netgalley, and you always knew that my opinions are sincere, didn’t you? 🙂