Hearts of Stone

Lessons from a walk on the beach.

Gary Wood

I enjoy walking along the beach looking for stones. One particular day I began to look for specific kinds of stones. I looked for stones shaped like a heart; then stones that were a distinct color – like red or green or amber or white. Of course I was still alert to rocks that had really unique patterns or color mixes. My priority was finding some heart-shaped stones, but I found them very difficult to spot.

In the process of looking for the heart-shaped stones I realized the place to look was in places with the highest concentration of stones. After all, more rocks surely meant more heart-shaped ones as well.

What I failed to notice was, in a crowd it was easier for stones to be partially hidden so I didn’t recognize their true shape. When I moved out into the less-concentrated areas, each stone’s shape became clearer and I began to discover a few hearts – not perfectly formed, but close enough to remind me of one.

I find sometimes I too hide my heart. The easiest way to do this is either to be with a number of people or to isolate myself. If I’m in a crowd, it’s rare for conversations to reach deep heart issues – there’s too much to risk by exposing things in a crowd.

Of course the other option – isolating myself – keeps any prying eyes away from my heart. It’s when I’m with one or two trusted friends that I might open my heart for inspection.

Why is it so hard for me to reveal my heart to others? Am I fearful of being rejected or abandoned if people find my heart is full of failures or inadequacies? Do I hesitate to search for the needs in people’s hearts because I’m afraid to share mine too?

Proverbs 17:17 reminds us “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” I want to treasure human hearts as much as I treasure beach stones, so I can be that brother who loves at all times.

As I walked home, I asked the Lord, “Would You please give me courage to share my heart more openly and to seek-out and treasure those who trust me with theirs?


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