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.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Colors of the Heart

I found the heart-shaped stone on the beach in Washington State. The tan rock had muted colors, but the shape is what attracted me. How did the Pacific Ocean shape a rock into a heart? And why?

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

In the overcast light of the beach, I thought the hint of colors in the rock might even be discolorations that would rub off.

When I washed the heart, the colors of the wet heart changed. It became a warm, golden ochre that looked battered. Some might say this happens to our heart when we water it with tears. It is then that our struggles and sorrows become obvious.

Under a bright light, the colors emerged. The rock looked white like bone, but it had flecks of red, a patch of blue, and lines of gold.

When there are tears, the heart reveals itself.

What I see in my heart when it is dark and shadows surround me is not the same as what I see during the day. At night, when the world closes down, I feel the world of emotions inside me. My heart has been shaped by forces I don’t control that have dragged me through hell, ripped off pieces, ground down the edges of my personality, and sanded away surfaces. That’s the shape.

The colors of my heart go deeper. The red magenta is the blood and bruises of relationships. The cobalt blue is the color of dreams that remain unfulfilled. The lines of gold are Evelyn’s love and the love of others that they wove through me. As Ev shaped my heart into what could feel love, she added these colors to help me bear the weight of sorrow that would come with her death. They will always be there.

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 the colors of my personality, but the shape of Ev’s compassion, and the love of others, are present in the light as well as in the dark.


Sometimes, when an ocean of doubt and despair tumble 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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