The Warehouse

Gears with interlocking teeth rotating away, grinding together in their slow orbits as yet another day passes. As they turn, the lights flicker awake, pulleys and levers do their work, and the various machinery comprising this particular warehouse hums alive.

Yes, another day of the gears turning, another day of the machinery, the pulleys, the levers, the lights doing what they do best.

There have been times, however, when one of the gears — the primary organ of the warehouse’s existence — breaks down. It wears out or all out cracks in two. Suddenly, the lights are dimmer. The pulleys and the levers are slow to do their work. The machinery labors as it attempts in fits and starts to do what they were designed to do.

To the untrained eye, this warehouse would just seem old, finicky. Cranky, perhaps, as if it has had enough of its job and just wants to rest for once. But to anyone on the inside, they can tell in an instant. Just from the way the lights seem to have lost their typical glow. Or the way the pulleys and the levers seem to be caked with a sludge that wasn’t previously there. Or the way the machinery all but drags as it goes about their daily tasks.

To those on the inside, it’s quite clear. A gear has broken. The core of this warehouse is fractured, and to get it back up and running, the source of the break must not only be identified, but properly dealt with and dealt with carefully, so as to address the issue in its totality.

It takes quite the maneuvering to ensure that the gear is mended properly.

First, the most special, senior warehouse worker gets to evaluate the situation. This employee knows the most about this warehouse’s gears — and most gears, really. They take the lead in assessing the damage and determining the next steps. Then, the senior identifies the necessary tools to mend the break, and the additional junior employees who can help achieve a speedy repair. Speed, however, is only secondary in the repair process; the first and foremost priorities are care, caution, attention. Care for the work being done, caution for the potential roadblocks, attention to the finer details of the situation.

The workers take as much time as they need to fix the gear. They know repair time varies depending on the gear, so they don’t force it. They don’t rush. They know the payoff will come. They just mind their work, diligently working on the repair.

Day by day, week by week — or perhaps even month by month — they can see the progress taking shape. The lights start to return to their normal luster. The pulleys and the levers start mulling about their usual business. The machinery starts to hum its typical song of progress.

And suddenly, they know. The workers know that the gear has been fixed, their warehouse returned to normal — or perhaps better than before the break ever happened. After each repair, they are certain that the warehouse, with those machines and pulleys and levers and gears, is resilient. They are confident that no matter what may happen in the years to come, their warehouse — filled with this fragile, yet mighty apparatus — will keep working, will keep progressing, will never give up.

How do they know for sure? Because the warehouse isn’t really a warehouse. The machines aren’t really machines, just as the pulleys and the levers aren’t really pulleys and levers. The gears, too, aren’t really gears.

The warehouse is the human body. The machines, its muscles, bones, and organs. The pulleys and levers, its cells and tissues.

And those gears? The human heart. It is the incredible machine of the heart that keeps the warehouse of the body functioning. And when it’s broken, the rest of its functions can slow to but a crawl.

But alas, it is the human heart that can break over and over again and yet, still be repaired with just enough care, caution, attention.