I have been on another Dean Koontz kick, and over the last six months I have read 77 Shadow Street, The Husband, The Bad Place, By the Light of the Moon, Watchers, Breathless and most recently Your Heart Belongs to Me. While I enjoyed all of them, I still maintain that his best novels have been the Odd Thomas series, and The City. However, Your Heart Belongs to Me really struck me this past week. Every once in a while, Dean Koontz surprises me with another deeply spiritual message in his seemingly ‘pop culture’ literature. Ha… if people only knew what they were reading…
Your Heart Belongs to Me follows Ryan, an extremely successful tech genius with a wonderful girlfriend, big house, nice cars, and a terminal heart disease. If Ryan does not receive a heart transplant within a year or less, he will die. Ryan is a fit and healthy 34-year-old, and the news of his imminent death comes as quite a shock. Instead of trying to enjoy life while he is waiting for a transplant, Ryan becomes paranoid seeing conspiracy where there is none, and malice where there is only love. Ignoring his girlfriend’s advice to allow things to unfold without interfering, Ryan uses his money and influence to switch to a cardiologist who can guarantee him a heart within a month. Eventually, his fears become the truth, and Ryan may miss his chance to save his life literally and metaphorically.
Ryan’s girlfriend, Sam, is a writer, and she is constantly reminding him to understand the ‘subtext’ of life. Like a great novel, there are layers and layers of meaning hidden beneath the main story line. Ryan’s blind selfishness and fear for his life result in consequences he could never have imagined. The scales are only lifted from his eyes when it is almost too late.
The ending is wonderful, and I don’t want to spoil the book. But it simply made me think about how many times I have walked around my life blindly and missed the subtext. I am constantly worrying about getting things done and in my way. My husband and I recently moved to a new home in the Smoky Mountains. How many times have I been busy fussing about how things aren’t getting unpacked fast enough and completely missing the beauty that is around me? How many times have I missed a kindness my husband has done for me when I’m not looking? How many times have I missed the people in my new parish being kind and welcoming me with open arms? How many… I keep asking myself.
Reflecting back on your own life, do you not see how so many things have happened a certain way just to get you where you are now. How many good things? How many bad things? How many things that seemed bad at the time, but actually ended up being blessings? I don’t know about you, but the subtext of my life is, has been, and will be amazing… if only I would stop and see it. Maybe I should stop moving so fast. Maybe I should stop worrying about the future and start living in the moment. Maybe the things that make me anxious are not that important, and maybe simply being at peace is better for me and my family. I encourage all those who read this today to pause, even if just for a few minutes, to reflect and explore the subtext—maybe you will see things that you were blind to before.