Va’ dove ti porta il cuore was an award-winning Italian novel in the nineties , written by Susanna Tamaro. The title means “Go where your heart takes you.” The book recounts the story of a dying grandmother who writes a diary for her granddaughter about the only truth that spans both generations and time: No matter what the consequences, we must all summon up the courage to break out of the mold and follow our hearts.For that is where love and true freedom can be found. In the confines of our typical daily structure, we sometimes forget there is a greater truth that calls to us. It is a Truth that reveals itself to us when we dream, create, explore, and let our hearts take us to where we really need to be. That is what a genuine and HOLY life is all about, to me. I believe that the purest voice in our hearts echos the voice of God within us.
This piece of notebook paper contains one of my daughter’s grade school poems. When I was a doctoral student and our three kids were quite young, my husband would love to gather them up in his old car on Saturday and go for a long surprise adventure. There was no pre-determined route, no “must-see”. destination. He loved to go by instinct—no structure, no rules , but a simple quest to let life amaze them. Discovering new places admittedly took some time, and what kid likes to sit in a car for more than 2 minutes? Well, the weekend was a great opportunity to let me study and for him spend some cool father-time with the kids he cherished more than anything in the world. Our daughter would protest sometimes when Dad called everyone to the car. “Not another wild goose chase!” she would exclaim. But as much as she may have complained, we both knew that had he left without her, she would have been upset and felt excluded. Inevitably, once they’d all get going, she got hooked on the exploration as much as the boys did. I recently found proof of this, as I was going through my important papers. Amongst them, a poem which our daughter wrote years ago, for her grade school class assignment; something that even left her teacher in awe. To this day, the words on this simple piece of notebook paper comprise one of my greatest treasures in life. It is a child’s understanding of the real lesson her father was teaching her by example: the importance of making time to go where your heart leads you. Her poem went like this:
Wild Goose Chase
Driving through the Catskills
In Dad’s old moldy car
We’ve been driving for eternity
But we didn’t go too far
We saw a bunch of roadkill
Crunch before the wheels
Dad’s not looking where he’s going
Drives over whatever he feels
Is it morning or noon? We asked ourselves
As we drove along route 9
We’ve been in this car so darn long
We’d lost our sense of time
We’d stop somewhere every once in a while
At a mountain, brook, or someplace.
So Thomas could go fishing
Almost hooked himself in the face.
Even though I complain a real lot
There’s no place that I’d rather be
‘Cause happiness is going on adventures with Dad
Driving somewhere, going nowhere, being Free.
As in the book “Va’ dove ti porta il cuore” , the courage to follow your heart is where true freedom is found. And there is no greater destination than that.