Earlier this year, when summer was still on the horizon and the leaves were still on the trees, we went rock hounding. This was not just your casual-picking-up-stones stroll. This was an intentional day trip to Richardson’s Rock Ranch – a place as intriguing as it is remote. Peacocks roam the parking lot and piles of exotic rocks surround the shop.
Once inside, you’re given specific instructions on where to find the famous thunder eggs. And with pickaxe, bucket, and high hopes, you set out to the dig site.
It was like a grown-up sized sandbox. Sitting in the gravel, digging away, searching for the eggs/rocks. The kids talked smack about the size of their eggs as the sun scorched down. Like a treasure hunt, the discovery of each thunder egg was thrilling and new.
Eventually, though, we had to choose. Knowing that we had to pay by the pound, we sifted through the bucket and only kept the biggest rocks. The best ones. Then, for a little extra, we had our thunder eggs sliced open. The lure of the unknown, convincing us to commit. No turning back.
And it was the strangest thing, because there was no pattern, no reason, for the beauty of the inside compared to the outside. Some of the biggest, roundest rocks were dull and lifeless inside. Others, small and forgettable on the exterior, were simply stunning on the interior.
But you don’t know the value, the beauty, until you break it. Moreover, you’re stuck with the decision. In choosing one, you inevitably leave behind the others.
It’s like that with love. You set out to the dig site with hopes of finding the right one. And you choose – based on the the time and the place. You hope for the best. And sometimes you luck out. You choose well. And sometimes what seemed like a good one turns out to be not-so-good.
My married friends have been talking a lot about love and marriage and how hard it all is. And my single friends have been talking a lot about love and relationships and how hard it all is. Which means, it’s all hard. Love/life is hard. It’s not a scripted RomCom that ends happily ever after. It’s complicated and messy. A dangerous cocktail of pleasure and pain.
I’m still trying to figure it all out. Whether there is actually one perfect one out there, or lots of this-will-do-just-fine ones. Whether God or fate or whatever plays a part. Or if it’s just the luck of the draw. And what happens when the prized one, the right one, is buried beneath layers of time and experience? Or what if it’s right under your nose and you step over it, completely unaware?
I wish I knew. I wish I had an answer. But until then, I’ll just keep searching. Sitting in the dirt.