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Marsh column: So many people put their heart into life

What is it to “have heart”?
As a reflection on this year that has flown by (!), I have seen many things, situations and people who have given me great inspiration. When I would look closer I noticed that all were “heart” driven.
So what is “having heart”?
Surfing the net I found all kinds of interesting definitions (beside the obvious one — a hollow, muscular organ, which, by contracting rhythmically, keeps up the circulation of the blood);
1. Courage, courageous purpose, spirit
2. Being kind and sympathetic
3. Having heart is putting everything into it
4. To encourage, inspire
5. Love and affection
There were a zillion more but these are the definition I mean when I use he/she has heart.
I have the fortune to be working with all kinds of people who show me “having heart” each and every day. One of my dear class participants who was (yeah) struggling with cancer, would, throughout her treatment, put all her strength, courage and optimism together to come and exercise her body, mind and spirit and fought to get her body free of cancer. Same with another Y member who has been battling cancer off and on for numerous years … the first week after treatment he cuddles up in a ball and “just is.” After one week he makes himself get up and walks a set distance that he feels he needs to conquer. After that he starts to run, even in our local 5K races until his next treatment when it starts all over again. Well, you inspire me tremendously.
You don’t have to battle cancer to “have heart” or even to inspire. How about numerous of our members who have lost nearly or more than 100 pounds and kept it off? It takes great heart and courage and all the above to continue to move forward. There is just no easy way. And of course our athletes, who put in all their effort and heart to make us parents, teachers, schools and community proud.
We have been blessed to have our own J.F. Hurley YMCA Warriors Outdoor Track and Field and Cross Country team this year. It has been a privilege to be working with so many children and their parents who are so courageous, kind, hard working and a true inspiration to me and my husband who is the head coach.
Nothing comes for free, but to strive for success. whether it is athletically, physically, mentally, spiritually comes with time, effort and hard work.
When you are setting your News Year’s resolutions (and I know you will — whether you admit it or not) think of all the people who have gone before you and succeeded in what they set their mind, time and effort into. It takes “heart” to succeed, many times it even will hurt but at the end of the day it is all worth it.

Ester H. Marsh ACSM Cpt Health and Fitness Director J.F. Hurley Family YMCA

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