No. 725


Here is a question that I believe strikes at the very core of our being. Do you have a sensitive heart? Sadly, a lot of people don’t and the lives of many of those they touch are left clinging to the side of a shipwreck in their wake. You may have heard the saying, “She’s a hard-hearted Hannah.” I am especially sensitive to this saying because I have a beautiful granddaughter whose name is Hannah.
Do you know where that saying comes from? If you don’t, here is the answer. “A Hard Hearted Hannah (The Vamp of Savannah)” is a popular song from Tim Pan Alley. The lyrics include, “She’s a hard hearted Hannah, the vamp of Savannah, the meanest gal in town. Leather is tough but Hannah’s heart is tougher.” To be sure, Hannah was a gal who loved to see men suffer.
As one who always tries to have a sensitive spirit and a sensitive heart, the real question for me becomes, why? Why are so many people hard-hearted while others around them are so sensitive, loving and kind, toward other people? There are many possible answers to this perplexing question, but it basically comes down to the way we are reared and what we were taught. If our parents or caretakers were kind and loving, and expressed genuine concern for others, the odds are very good that we will turn out the same way. On the other hand, if our parents were meaner than a snake and never had anything good or kind to say about others, and never went out of their way to help others, the odds are good we will turn out the same way.
While you may not share my personal spiritual convictions, my heart changed when I truly came to understand that God loved me, in spite of my sins, and that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for me on a cross almost 2,000 years ago. If only those who are hard-hearted could experience this life-changing experience, I believe they would see the world and all of its beauty in a completely different light.
Nancy Mitchell is a friend of mine who has been a special education teacher for more than 31 years. She recently told me this story. “The students I taught were usually from very poor families. I rarely ever got gifts at Christmas. Other teachers would load up their cars with boxes full of gifts following the annual class parties. One year even the PTA forgot to give me a flower when all of the teachers were recognized for a special occasion, perhaps Teacher Appreciation Day or Valentine’s Day.
“Several years ago, I was assigned to help with a foreign language bingo during a field day at school. We were set up in the music teacher’s room. The music teacher had just put on a program the day before and had been given a bouquet of flowers (as was the custom) and they were sitting on her desk. There were also plaques of appreciation hanging on her walls. I began to feel sorry for myself, as one would naturally do when always feeling under noticed and unappreciated. I thought to myself, ‘I never get flowers or recognition for what I do!’
“The very next day, one of my students, a beautiful autistic boy, came running down the hall calling my name. ‘Mrs. Mitchell, I bought these for you!’ His mother was close behind. She said they had gone to Kroger to pick something up from the store and he saw the floral department, he insisted on buying a bouquet of flowers for me! In my heart, it was as if the Lord was saying, ‘I see what you do. Your reward comes from Me’.”
A sensitive heart always seeks the greater good in and for others.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)