God bless your beating heart — more than 86,400 beats per day.

February is National Heart Month. Wise Solomon said in Proverbs, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

We in Duluth are very blessed to have more than 20 cardiologists and four outstanding thoracic surgeons plus other heart specialists in an area with a population of about 100,000. One thoracic surgeon told me that Nigeria, with 187,000,000 people, has no thoracic surgeon. We are also very fortunate to have two qualified hospitals in our area where heart surgery is available: Essentia-St. Mary's Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital.

Duluth is also very fortunate to have a Mended Hearts heart support group, with survivors and interested individuals from both hospitals who meet monthly at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday (except in July, August, and December) to learn how to live smarter, heart-healthier lives. Those who attend can expect some stimulating, helpful, and interesting meetings. Mended Hearts also has certified visitors who cheerfully visit with heart patients, sharing with them their experiences and offering encouragement.

The Detroit area has a population of about 5.2 million people, and I know of no Mended Hearts group in that area. Duluth is fortunate and blessed.

One often hears that heart failure is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. That is not true. Unfortunately, it is elective abortion that causes death for vastly more beating hearts. Each beating heart is precious.

God bless your beating heart and all the beating hearts in the Duluth area.

Pastor S. Jerome Elness