The seven of us sat in the corner booth feasting on fried chicken and sweet potato pizzas sharing stories, experiences, laughter, and sarcasm. Lots and lots of sarcasm. I love moments like these because they really are priceless. And then it got awkwardly silent, not because we were chowing down but because in that moment, it was like God was whispering to us to learn something deeper about one another. And ourselves. He didn’t want us just floating on the surfaces. He wanted us to dive deeper into the depths of the waters.
My new friend (let’s call him G) decided to speak up. G told us he liked to play this game he made up, which basically translated to “let me ask you a bunch of questions and you can all answer them.” We were all down for that. I like answering questions. I may not always know the answers, but I do strangely like questions.
His first question: If you ended up on an abandoned island and there was a box lying on the shore, what would you hope to find in the box? The answer must be the first thing that comes to mind.
I replied, “gold”. Not silver, gold.
This was, in no way, a materialistic response. Gold is symbolic for me. I’ve met a lot of people who think that the element of gold is some diva-esque, shiny, unbreakable substance that they are sure to spot on the latest and greatest pop-star outfit. That it’s a timeless fashion statement, and is a color that women apply to their skin and paint their faces with. Although all that is sometimes accurate, gold is also a material that when under stress, can be molded and shaped into something entirely different. But through the stress—the bending and twisting and rolling and curving, gold never breaks. It doesn’t even crack. Gold can be turned into something completely different than it’s original element, but still, it will fail to be broken. And through all these processes, gold still miraculously maintains its strength.
Our hearts are made of gold.
We’re all just trying to do this life thing, and in the midst of it, God is pulling and pushing, shaping and molding us into better humans. We endure stress and challenges and it is in these circumstances, which allow us to progress towards being the most beautiful versions of ourselves. There is no other like you. And that’s the exciting part. Everyone’s journey is different, everyone’s heart is different, and we all have pieces of ourselves to share with the world. Try and believe it.
G’s second question: What are three traits or characteristics that you value?
Two. The capacity to care for others.
Honesty and authenticity go hand in hand, but the ability to be honest with others and yourself is such a big thing for me. I used to suck at it a lot because I would care so much about what other people might think, or my pride would get in the way, or I just didn’t want to hurt the people around me. But then somewhere along the way, I realized that honesty really is the best policy. Life is not always easy. Plans don’t always go accordingly. People can be fickle. Hard conversations need to be had. And sometimes, the dress really does make you look larger and changing your shoes would absolutely make your outfit trendier. The thing is: if you really love on someone, all those above things apply—honesty, care, and authenticity. So I guess in actuality, all those things go together hand in hand.
I’m the type of girl that will serve you a big slab of steak, not a petty little fruit bowl.
The other day, I was chatting with a friend on the phone. There were questions and answers and awkward moments and all the things. But it’s in those situations where sugar coats are unacceptable and you don’t really need sugar for something to taste sweet. But in all my honesty and in the process of putting everything on the table, I realized that being honest could sometimes really screw something up. As in, I was overly honest and didn’t take into consideration the other party’s heart because I was quite fine and almost more amused at the silliness of it all more than anything. And then after the conversation, there were all these retraction statements going through my mind because maybe I didn’t think things through enough before I actually tackled it. Big mistake.
I’m so grateful grace exists because I’m convinced I screwed up big time.
So this is my public apology to all the people out there reading this who I’ve unintentionally hurt because I was being too fickle, and I fell short of protecting your heart. I’m human and I mess up. Every. Day. And I need grace. Lots of it.
We sometimes forget how fragile a heart can be. I’m not saying stay away from being real and from being honest. But, we can be serious botches because we are hasty individuals who can be out of line and say things we don’t mean. We can try to be too strong, and let hurtful words escape from our tongues and the same can be done to us.
I’m glad that our hearts are really made of gold. That through the excruciating and agonizing things in life—challenges, uncomfortableness, and even honesty and authenticity, goodness and beauty will absolutely come out of it.
Don’t keep your golden heart in the box on that abandoned island.
Take it out. Let it hurt. Let it breathe. Let it soar. Let it experience honesty and authenticity, struggle and challenges. Let God mold it. Let Him mold it, sweet darlings. Because as much as we think it can break, it won’t. It can only be refined and come out overwhelmingly stunning.