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Geode with crystals of light-blue color. Cross section of natural stone.

Geodes are the Forrest Gumps of geology.

Remember what Forrest’s mother always told him?  “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re going to get.” 

Geodes are ordinary-looking rocks that conceal extraordinary treasures.  In some locales they’re known as potato rocks because of their resemblance to Idaho spuds.  But when cracked open they reveal a fairyland of crystals, sometimes with beautiful colors.   

While some geodes are formed within bubbles in volcanic lava, most of them emerge from deposits of limestone and shale. 

What accounts for their spectacular interiors?

Somewhere along the line, something left a void – an open space – within the layers of sediment.  Geologists surmise that such spaces might have been where a small animal used to live.  When you gaze at the interior of a geode, it’s possible you’re looking at the former family room of a mouse or vole.  Or perhaps a root, branch, or shell was slowly coated by sedimentary rock.  After the organic material decayed, the space was left behind.

If water should fill that space, it might contribute dissolved materials that would coalesce into crystals – agate, opal, amethyst, or quartz, among others.

No two geodes are alike.  Collectors relish getting that first look.  If you gently tap on the plain exterior with a hammer and chisel, the geode will open to reveal something remarkable. 

It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that people have a geode-like hiddenness.  The difference is that we cannot crack other people open according to our own whims. 

But we can ask.

It’s astonishing how willing most of us are to go through life – even the most challenging days we have ever experienced – oblivious to the fact that there are treasures all around us.  Do you need guidance?  Do you need encouragement?  Do you need to hear a word of wisdom from someone who’s “been there and done that”? 

Proverbs 12:15 reminds us, “Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.”   

We are always in the company of ordinary-looking human beings who just happen to know the very things we need to know – or who will help us reframe the problems and questions that have so far stopped us in our tracks.

As we approach the dawn of a new year, choose to be humble. 

Ask somebody for help.  Or ask a lot of somebodies.

As we humbly reveal our own needs, we’ll be surprised how often others reveal the treasures of their wisdom.