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Putting books away on a shelf today, I stopped as my hand slid across the polished surface of the geode book ends, which were purchased after a talk I gave on the power of our brokenness. The magic of a geode is that from the outside, it can look like an ordinary rock to the untrained eye. But for one who can see the beauty with the mind’s eye, that geode is picked up and held with reference, because only when it is broken open is the crystalline center brought to light.
I know in my own life stories and in listening to the stories of others, it is common to put on a good face for the world and pretend that all is well- that our bodies aren’t sick, our bank accounts are full, our relationships with our spouses and children and parents are all stellar, and we are happy beyond belief. We want to ignore the darkness and live superficially in the world where everything is rosy. We really don’t want someone to peer too closely into our lives because they might see the cracks in our facade. It is easier to isolate ourselves than to allow others into our truth. But the truth is that we already are jewels.
When I look at the geode, I realize that I only get to see its true beauty because a hammer and chisel broke it open and revealed the crystalline center. The beauty lies inside the darkness. Likewise, it is in our struggle with our own darkness that our lives become even more beautiful. The crystalline structure inside the geode is what draws people to view it more carefully, and treat it with awe. The same goes for us. Have you noticed that when you are really honest with someone and you let them into the challenges of your life, they are more real with you? When I let people into the struggles I have had with illness and my battle against perfection, others open up and share their own suffering. We hold space for the stories, not to sit as victims of life, but to be proof that light shines even in the darkness. And the best part about it is that we are no longer alone in our suffering. Our struggles become crystals of light for others to learn from, lean on, pull wisdom from, so they have the courage to carry on in their own darkness. And in turn, we draw strength from others and have the ability to see our own struggles in a new light. We recognize that we are loved because of who we are, not who we think we should be.
The gift of the geode is that our brokenness is necessary. Our human suffering connects us to others, and gives us the way to be light for each other. Whatever struggles you have are helping you to become the best version of yourself. How fortunate we are to have people willing to be geodes in the world, broken open by struggle and shining their inner truth and beauty, so we can begin to see that our own brokenness is really our path to healing.