Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Colors of the Heart

I found the heart-shaped stone on the beach in Washington State. The rock was a generic tan color, but the shape attracted me. How did the Pacific Ocean shape a rock into a heart? And why? I’m particularly interested in the why.

How do people shape the meanderings of their hearts into acts of love and compassion?

In the overcast light of the beach, I saw a hint of colors in the rock that might be discolorations that would come off when I cleaned it.

When I washed the heart, its colors changed. It became a warm, golden ochre. Some might say this happens to our heart when we wash it with tears. And then our struggles and sorrows are revealed.

Under a bright light, more colors emerged — flecks of red, a patch of blue, and lines of gold.

When there are tears, the heart reveals itself.

My heart has been shaped by forces I don’t control that have ground down the rough edges of my personality, but also dragged me through hell and ripped off pieces. There are cracks where stress has impacted me. That’s the shape.

The colors of my heart go deeper, and what I see during the day are not what emerges at night when darkness and shadows surround me, and the world of emotions emerge.

I call this Evelyn’s rock. The red magenta is the blood of relationships. The cobalt blue is the color of dreams that remain unfulfilled. The lines of gold are Evelyn’s compassion for others. Ev shaped my heart into what could feel love, and added these colors to help me bear the weight of sorrow that would come with her death.

Which light shows the true colors of my heart?

On some days, I feel worn out and abandoned on a cold, wind-swept shore. On other days I radiate with the warmth of the sun and with the colors of my personality.

Sometimes, after an ocean of doubt has tumbled me around, I can’t see the colors at all. Then I hold on until someone picks my heart up from the beach and takes me home.

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