3. A Pool of Gems

The royal blue gem disturbed me, the one of Saint John Chrysostom which said that when the heart has received hurt, it affects the body accordingly. A good heart uses the pain as a kind of ingredient to send vigor to the rest of the body, which I suppose includes the mind; a weak heart sends poisons to the mind and throughout the bloodstream.

Cancer and disease probably ensue from that bad blood. Anyway, that’s what my dying father told me. He said that resentment was a black poison that runs through your bloodstream until it kills you. I wonder if he too found that blue gem on the Lenten shore when it was too late.

As I strolled along the long wide shore contemplating my weak heart I must admit I was beginning to despair when a little pool of gems caught my eye in the distance.

The gems glistened near each other. They called me to pick them up all together. When I did the warm sand sifted through my fingers. Then they chanted in perfect harmony, “For a weak heart we are exercise, for a sick heart, we are medicine.”

When the chanting ceased the gems delivered their messages to me one by one. The first gem, a pink Climacus gem, told me to seek healing right after the blow. It said a fresh wound is easier to heal than an old neglected and festering one.

The second, an emerald green Climacus gem, chimed in to remind me that if the Holy Spirit is peace of soul, as He is said to be and indeed He is, and if anger is disturbance of the heart, then there is no greater obstacle to the presence of Spirit in me than anger.

The third, an amethyst Climacus gem, told me a story. It said that there were three men who received the same arrow to their hearts at the same time. The first felt it keenly, but did not speak; the second was delighted by the thought of the reward the injury would bring him and he felt compassion for the wrongdoer; the third wept fervently at the thought of the harm his offending neighbor was suffering. At work, the gems explained, were fear, the sense of reward due, and love.

I was in awe but I wanted to cry when I heard these gems speak. Somehow I felt worse to know how I had failed my mind and my heart for so many years. They shined so brightly and I was so dull. But they inspired in me a desire to own them. They grew warmer in my hand at that thought but asked me to lay them back on the shore for other pilgrims to find. Then they promised me more like them on my journey. I kissed each of them good-bye when I set them down but the first gem called me a fool because only the shine of them would be left behind. It told me that by the warmth I had felt in my hand their messages already began to work on my heart.

I don’t want to die.