Gifts of the Heart

My new book, “Gifts of The Heart” is a powerful story full of adventure and inspiration. As a military physician and heart surgeon called to serve in the desert of Afghanistan, Kareem Afram is forced to face challenges, destruction, illness and death head on. Despite all the pain he endures, Afram rises to a greater more meaningful understanding of life and his purpose for living. The many life lessons Afram learns while on his journey, can provide a blueprint for the conflicts we face daily. The truth is, in life, we will all experience pain and conflict, and it will hurt. But after the initial sting of the pain hits, we are all faced with the same questions. What now? How do we cope? Do we allow the pain to cripple us? Can any good come of this experience? Through activating courage, strength, love and faith, four principles Afram discovers on his journey, we can all learn from the deepest of pain and emerge with a greater sense of purpose.


Whether it is losing a loved one or facing the drastic changes a combat injury presents, accessing courage can transform a painful situation. Having the courage to face the pain, whatever it may be, welcomes honesty and vulnerability into the situation, which provides a clearer picture of exactly what can be done to heal the pain that was inflicted.


If pain does nothing else, it reveals to each of us what we can and cannot endure. The truth about nearly every situation is that if it does not overcome us, we have what it takes to persevere. If it were too much to handle, it would be just that, and we would buckle under the severity of it all. However, we do not buckle; we carry on! Realizing the strength pain reveals places even the worst situations into a more hopeful context.


The power of love can overshadow the deepest and darkest of pain. During painful circumstances, taking inventory of the love in our lives, can serve as a constant reminder that although we experience pain in life, we still experience love. Whether from parents, friends, family or loved ones, love is all around us. Concentrating on the love we encounter everyday allows us to place pain into perspective and realize that it is not our constant state of being.


Faith in God and faith in what you are able to endure is vital to revealing the purpose of any painful situation. Faith simply means that you have accepted that while things may be out of your control, you are guided and held by a greater purpose.  Belief in purpose causes a transformation in the way we perceive adversity and pain. In my experience, pain that is perceived to be void of purpose cuts deeper and often diminishes the hope for a better outcome. Accessing faith during painful situations allows us to see the lessons hidden in all the  moments of our lives. Not only does faith allow us to learn from painful situations, but it prepares us to help others who find themselves in similar situations.

As Afram discovers, these four principles are tools for overcoming conflict and painful situations. “Gifts of the Heart” illustrates these principles and explores lessons that empower us all to overcome and persevere.


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