My mother gave me this heart rock today. Usually I'm the one who finds the heart rocks, so this was an unexpected gift. It was not found by her, though. It was found by my great grandfather on my father's side, Charles, whom I never met . . . he died before I was born. In the early 1900s he collected arrowheads, along with a few other interesting rocks. My mother came over today to hand over half of his collection to me (and the other half will go to my sister). The collection includes petrified wood, arrowheads, clear quartz, calcite, carnelian, and many other types of stones. But, of course, my eyes went straight to this small heart rock, and I had to smile at the generational link between us. For even though we never knew each other, we both obviously appreciated treasures in the natural world.
Now let me explain why this picture above is so very important to me, because it represents right where I'm at spiritually. First, notice that there is so much darkness in the photo. I did that on purpose . . . I could have cropped it away, but metaphorically it captures the darkness that has surrounded me during a recent time of struggle in my life. As much as I wanted to immediately push away the darkness and pretend that it was not there, it could not be denied. It had to be acknowledged. As Neal Donald Walsh states in his book Conversations with God, "What we resist persists. What we look at goes away." So, with much reluctance I accepted that I was in a dark period. After a while I started to understand that the dark time was a sort of slowing down time, a time for contemplation and refining, although much fear was felt at this stage as well, because darkness always seems to arouse fear in me. After all, I can't see things clearly. I don't trust that walking through the dark with my hands outstretched will lead me safely into God's arms. I'm more afraid that I'll end up farther away, in more darkness, unable to return to any sense of safety. My tendency is to panic in the dark moments, which highlights my lack of faith. This refining period proved to be painful, yet productive. Empty, yet full of beauty the more I stopped running and started looking at what God had to teach me.
Now notice the red flower in the photo, rising up out of the dark, soft and encapsulating. It seems to be suspended in the dark, thriving amidst its bleak surroundings. This represents hope, safety, and rescue . . . or, simply put, God. Even through my struggle in the "dark", I was never alone. I was always resting in the soft layers of spiritual divinity, nestled in His promise of rescue, enlightenment, and refinement.
Obviously, in the photo, the heart rock represents me, being gently supported by the velvety petals of God's love. The heart rock's colors also represent me as well: darkness and light swirling together, making a beautiful, although not perfect, design. But the light that seems to pop from this rock is what matters most; it represents my spiritual light. The fact that there is any light at all in me proves that He is doing His work in me. I'm still not perfect; therefore the dark veins still course through me, but the light always shines through, pushing the darkness away, ultimately triumphing. The darkness within myself serves a purpose, though. It keeps me real, allows me to approach others with my brokenness, and reminds me that He has more work to do in me. So the next time I'm refined, hopefully I won't resist it or fear it as much as I did this time around.
"Learn the alchemy true human beings know.
The moment you accept what troubles you've been given,
the door will open."
"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took