Whether you called it Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukkah, or a stressful holiday with nutty relatives, November 28, 2013, was a day celebrated in almost every American home.  A day of thanks.  And food.  There was much talk about getting bigger – physically.  Looking back, however, tummies weren’t the only things growing.

The day before Thanksgiving, friends hosted a party to kick off the holiday season.  When we arrived, we learned we’d just missed another friend we had hoped to see.  He is battling cancer, and I’m guessing he wasn’t feeling his best that day.  But, something in his heart was bigger than any pain that might have kept him home, and he helped kick off the holidays.  And, my heart grew with gratitude and hope.

Thanksgiving Day, I watched my oldest niece joyfully play for quite a while with her 4-year-old cousin, the baby of our family.  She’s 18 and the oldest of 11 cousins.  Her hipper cousins were beckoning, as was her smart phone.  But, her heart was bigger than any thoughts of self.  And, my heart grew with love and admiration.

Friday, I went to a movie with most of the cousins mentioned above.  As we waited for the show to begin, I watched two different men help their physically handicapped companions get comfortable in the theater seats.  It didn’t look easy, and it took a long time.  The hearts of those men, however, were bigger than any impatience or frustration they felt.   And, my heart grew with compassion and encouragement.

This weekend, I was in a funk.  It involved self-absorption and pride.  I felt the concern of my husband through his gentle comments.  (He’s good at it because I’ve given him a lot of practice … unfortunately.)  And, I felt the love of my Priest through his Sunday homily.  For both, the desire to act according to their vocation, marriage for my husband and Priesthood for my Priest, was bigger than anything calling them elsewhere.  And, my heart grew with humility.  Don’t get me wrong … I didn’t want to be humbled.  But, there was little peace until I got there.

Our world offers much worry, bitterness, loneliness, loss, despair, and pain that can harden our hearts, limiting their capacity.  If we allow God to melt the hardness, our faith, hope, and love will be bigger than the trials that surround us.  If you want to grow your heart, look around.  God’s providing food for our souls everywhere, every day.

How can you make your heart bigger today?