My soul sister Kortney gave me a beautiful gift recently – a polished quartz heart.
I don’t know a lot about stones or crystals, but I can tell you about this one: It’s heavy in my hand. Heavier than I expected, I guess. It’s perfectly smooth, and a sort of cloudy white with little sparkles that catch the light, like an ice cube that’s been soaking in a drink on a hot summer day.
The card that came with it said that quartz helps us connect with our clarity and find our way; and truly, finding my way has been a struggle of late. I think there’s been too much time to ruminate.
And so sometimes, I pick up the little heart and just hold it and breathe.
I know that sounds a little new-agey, but stick with me.
Holding my heart
The other day I was holding my heart – the quartz one – and I started looking into its depths.
I have to tell you – it’s kind of a mess in there. Fissures all over – up and down and left to right. I could handle them better in one direction.
If you hold it up to a window, light shines through the top and the bottom, but the middle is a little murky.
One line stretches across the whole thing – if I was trying to break it open like a coconut, I’d start there with a sharp implement and a hammer. I bet it would take one tap for it to split almost cleanly in two.
Then there’s the flecks. Close to the surface there are little brown speckles, almost like something got trapped in there.
Silicon + oxygen + spatulas
I tried reading a little about how quartz is made, and that’s just a hot mess.
Wikipedia says quartz is a combination of silicon and oxygen atoms, but literally, so is a lot of cookware, so that gets me nowhere.
I wanted to know if quartz was igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic because that’s what I remember from classifying rocks and gems, but it turns out quartz can be any of the three.
I wish I could ask my professor from college – a warm and caring man who wore plaid shirts and jeans to class each day, but what I remember is that after taking two classes with him, he retired to a cabin in Wisconsin, and I cried that he wasn’t going to be around anymore.
(That’s actually not all I remember. I remember confessing to him my non-traditional path through college, and him looking into my eyes and telling me it didn’t matter. I remember he made me feel safe; accepted.)
And so I’m back to what I can see and feel – an absolutely perfect heart filled with imperfections.
How can it be both?
How can we be both?
I guess I’ll start with the fact that we’re not little babies, and so we’ve had time here and the world has beat us up a little.
Plus, we make mistakes. Every one of us. No matter how well intentioned we are. No matter how good our parents were or were not to us. No matter how hard we try.
And most of us, the moms I know – we try incredibly hard.
And then there’s that whole knowing what’s right and wrong thing.
Sometimes, it’s very simple, but lately – things feel messy and nebulous.
Clarity + imperfection
But I will say that this morning, my quartz heart is doing its job. It’s bringing me some clarity, and this is what I’ve come up with:
You can have a beautiful, but imperfect heart.
Things happen. They leave battle scars. In the case of my quartz heart – there’s that line – something could have broken it once, but it didn’t.
In fact, I’m convinced, if I threw this heart at my wall right now, it would be fine. I can’t say the same for the walls of this little 1926 Craftsman.
It reminds me of Mary Oliver, and the start of one of my favorite poems, Wild Geese:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
We try. Lord, how we try.
And meanwhile our hearts wait for us to stop, and listen.
SOME RESOURCES FOR CONNECTING WITH YOUR HEART: