Cruising on I-90 form Washington back to Colorado, John and I are ready for rest after eight hours of driving. We stop at a campground with easy access to the freeway, just outside of Missoula, Montana. Fortunately, the campground is practically empty. We set up camp among tall ponderosa pines and bushes tucked away near a creek. It is the perfect respite from our long trip. Enjoying the solitude and beauty of our site, we decide to stay an extra day.

Sitting on a large rock at the edge of the creek, I allow myself to slow down and be in the moment. I notice small butterflies, bees, bugs and ants busy doing their thing. I take in the gurgling sound of the creek, the blue sky, and the warmth of the sun. At the height of the hot summer day, John and I don our bathing suits. We frolic and play in the creek, dunking our heads under the cold rushing water, and skipping rocks like we did when we were kids.

I lean down to pick up a rock and enjoy the way it feels in my hand. I notice its shape, a heart. It has cracks and white lines running through it. Further, I notice tiny white crystals emerging from within one of the cracks at the top. Fascinated, I ponder the rock’s story. It seems similar to mine somehow.

Then the rock speaks, “I have been here for ages and have witnessed the cycles and seasons of life. People, animals, trees and even forests have come and gone. With each death, I’ve seen new life born and creation continue its dance.”

“How did your body get this way?” I ask.

“My body has weathered the passage of time. Exposure to the elements, the harsh winter storms, has caused cracks to form in my structure.”

I admire the unique shape of the rock with all of its cracks and imperfections.

“The cracks have created a profound depth within my being from which I can relate to all of the other broken heart rocks, to their grief, loss, pain and suffering.”
Amazed, I reflect on my own life and how each storm, each experience of disappointment and loss has made me a stronger, more loving and compassionate person.

“The crystals you see emerging from my cracks are my Spirit. The love, light and joy of who I am is now able to shine more brightly through the spaces the cracks have created.”
I get it. When we allow our trials in life to break open and soften our hearts, rather than close and harden them, our beautiful spirit shines through.

Deeply grateful for the heart rock and its inspiring message, I bring it home with me as a reminder that the trials in my life have made me who I am today – beautiful, perfect and whole.

Author's Bio: 

Karen Mehringer, MA is the author of Sail Into Your Dreams: 8 Steps to Living a More Purposeful Life, a speaker, psychotherapist and grief counselor. She offers powerful solutions for healing grief and living fully through private sessions and group events. If you frequently find yourself feeling tired, depressed and stuck in your life, you may be experiencing unresolved grief. If you are ready to experience more joy, vitality and purpose in your life, call or e-mail Karen today to schedule a FREE 30-minute phone consultation to determine if her services are a good fit for you at (831) 359-2441 or For more useful information about this topic and to receive a FREE report on How to Heal Your Grief and Move on with Your Life, go to: