Yesterday, I called Rick Hyde. I hadn’t talked with him in a while, although I do try to check in from time to time. I’m going to a conference in October, and I wanted to stop by and visit him on my way through.
As we were talking, though, I suddenly remembered a conversation I had had with him during the end of my junior year. I was upset about something, who knows what anymore, and we were talking. And he said to me, “I want you to know that what is valuable about you isn’t that you are a hard worker or that you’re smart or that you are always on time and always prepared or that you say interesting things in class or that you challenge yourself. Those are all great things, but what I value about you is that you have a really good heart.”
No one in my life had ever said that to me before. My role in my family was to be the overachiever. My brother had friends, lots of them, but I was always working really hard, even as a little kid. I was always in rehearsal for something–orchestra in elementary school, choir in middle school, theater and choir in high school–or pushing myself to learn things beyond my school curriculum. I remember feeling like I wasn’t missing out on the kind of relationships my brother had because I was just doing other things. I was able to tell myself that this was more important, that Alex was kind of shallow because he was popular. I had colleagues when I was seven, but did I have friends?
But Rick told me that I have a good heart. And that that is what is important.
And I think that moment was when I became an artist.
I saw myself completely differently after that. And when I came to Virginia, that is the self I brought with me. I became more open to people and more loving. My friends now tease me that I wear my heart on my sleeve, that my love for them is apparent to a point that is nearly embarrassing.
And it is because of that that I now have so many amazing relationships with so many people. It is because Rick recognized my good heart that I am able to have this harvest of love.
So many things are tying into a long chain of who I’ve become. The coherence of all things, as Jennifer says. The syntax in everything, as the Robin Smith song goes.