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What are the cockles of my heart … and why do they need warming?
By Carol Loewen, February 29, 2016
What’s a cockle? And how does it warm my heart?
The other morning, Don looked across the breakfast table, blue eyes shining, and told me how much he loves me. I responded, “And you warm the cockles of my heart.” Then we both chuckled – what did that even mean? And what’s a cockle?
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, 2/11/05, “Cockles of the heart are its ventricles, named by some in Latin as ‘cochleae cordis’, from ‘cochlea’ (snail), alluding to their shape.” These warm cockles, or ventricles, make us feel warm and fuzzy, reflecting the depths of our emotions or feelings. But somehow “You warm the ventricles of my heart” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “cockles” does.
Hearing from another perspective about idioms we use without thinking makes us consider the meaning of what we say. For six months, I had the privilege of managing a lovely woman from Japan here in the US. Shion was such fun, and often she would come to my cubicle:
“What is ‘off the cuff’?” or
Water off a duck’s back
“What is ‘water off a duck’s back’?”
It was good for me, and for our whole team, to have to think more about how we communicated, and to explain some of those expressions that we didn’t think twice about.
And in a much larger sense, God did that for us when he sent his son, Jesus, the perfect representation of himself, to help us understand the character and nature of God. He didn’t say “You work on getting it … it’s up to you to learn ‘the language’.” Rather, he said, “I love you so much I want you to see who I am. I am reaching out to you, and I invite you to respond in faith to my invitation to relationship. Come to me, child. I want to warm the cockles of your heart.”
Idioms are great. Understanding is even greater!
What’s an idiom or expression you’ve had to explain to someone else? Was it hard to help them understand?
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Link to information and map of Ukraine conflict
Photos from my ancestral village, where my novel, Out of Russia, begins
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