How Much Can A Heart Really Hold?


Tasha Burgoyne -Hearts Capacity4

I remember the first time I read it. I was in college and at a friend’s house. She and some other friends and I went to get something out of her room and covering the walnut brown door a poster said this:

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” —Zelda Fitzgerald.

As everyone else entered the room, I stayed in the hallway, reading and re-reading Zelda’s words.

I knew little about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife or the context of the quote. Reading it that day, however, allowed my spirit a sigh of relief. The words were like what I can only imagine the light of a lighthouse is to weary travelers in a dark sea. This was the beginning of my understanding that I wasn’t alone and my hunch that, perhaps our hearts were made to hold the immeasurable.

I remember riding a train in Germany, looking out the window and watching the countryside while listening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Tears streamed down my face. The beauty of the countryside, the music, and me now living in a foreign country—doing what I had previously wondered if I was brave enough to do—well, the never ending too much of my dreamer’s heart couldn’t be contained.

I wondered then: would there ever be a place or use for all of this feeling? Would the too much feeling, the too much fear, the too much dreaming be too much of a burden to bear?

Years later, after our first son was born, I was terrified. I suddenly found myself in a place of too much feeling again. The too much transformed into copious amounts of fear and anxiety. The too much of all of my feelings made me aware and afraid of the fact that I was much too little to handle the immeasurable treasure God had given us.

After becoming a parent myself, every other parent I saw, looked like a superhero to me. Where once they seemed a bit out of touch and incessantly tired and distracted and never able to do things, they now seemed like they had supernatural abilities that were out of reach. A friend told us something that’s stuck with me since those early days.

He said, “God builds and stretches our capacity. What you can’t imagine now will become a reality later.”

An immeasurable God is our Maker. God is a capacity builder, a dream weaver. Nobody could ever measure how much our Maker’s heart holds. And yet, the very one who has held the oceans in the hollow of his hands, was the treasure of too much held in Mary’s heart and womb. It’s not just the amount that our hearts hold that matters.

What matters is the space our hearts have to hold the love and purpose of an immeasurable God. Therein lies our immeasurable capacity.

Today, as I type, my husband and I are in the sky, flying somewhere over the Pacific Ocean in between the space of being awake and dreaming. We are riding towards our family’s future through clouds and time zones. If you would have told me back when I read Zelda’s words as a young college student or rode the train as a single woman in Germany or in those first days of parenthood, that I would marry, walk through the death of a dream and still be able to weave new ones, or that I would have not only one child, but be flying towards our third child by way of adoption today, I would have stared back at you with wide eyes in disbelief. It would have all sounded like too much for my heart to hold.

If I am honest, I would say that, today, I feel small and afraid and my heart feels utterly too heavy as we walk the road before us. But I also know this: It’s not the amount within me that matters. It’s Who is within and what purposes are placed in my heart to hold as treasure that makes all the difference in the world.

God makes us women of immeasurable capacity, women who dream dreams and women who were made to see, what we can’t imagine now, become reality. We are women who are made with hearts abounding with the capacity to believe.