The art of the sifter

The art of the sifter | HeartStories

On our drive back to Denver this summer, we stopped at a gold mine.  The boys have been talking about going to a gold mine for years. So the excitement built over our entire trip, until the day finally arrived.

We woke up that morning to a grey cloud cover and drizzling rain.

As we arrived at the mine, it started to pour down heavy rain.  So we were told to wait in our cars for it to pass.  We waited and waited. Then finally it passed.  So we got our gear on and headed into the mine.

It was cold, dark and wet (and our guide was really proud of his story).

Finally, we finished the tour and the boys were going to get a chance to pan for gold in the stream.  They were ecstatic because of course, the tour guide told them all about a kid who once found gold in their mine and made $300,000.  

They were determined that would be them.

So we headed out to the stream.  The drizzle was heavy and the wind was cold.   We were greeted by an odd man who didn’t seem happy that we actually wanted to learn to pan in this weather.  The art of gold sifing | HeartStories

He took the pan, went to the stream, and returned to our wash basin with a pan full of rocks.  He showed us how you have to spin the water in the pan just right, to help the gold settle to the bottom.  He spun and spun and spun.  All the rocks came out the sides of the sifter with the water until their was nothing left in his pan but a little dirt in the bottom.

Then he reached behind him for a different pan and while showing us a few flecks of gold in the bottom he said, “When you find gold, it will settle to the bottom of the sifter, like this.  You just have to sift long enough, and gently enough, with exactly the right speed, to get rid of all the rocks and leave only the gold to settle to the bottom.  There’s an art to it.”

With the sight of that, the boys ran excitedly off to the stream to start sifting for gold.  

sifting for gold | HeartStories

They came back to the tub with huge pans of rocks and plunged them under the cold water to try to sift.  Everything floated right out of their pans.  They ran back to get more rocks and tried a little more gently to sift.  They ended up with mostly small rocks and a little dirt. They repeated this process until finally, they were cold enough that they just grabbed some big rocks with shiny spots and said, “These must have gold!  Let’s take them home and bust them open.”

And so we did.

But we didn’t find gold.

I don’t know about you, but my life seems pretty full, like those sifting pans.

It’s full of beautiful friends and family and so many good, good things.   And at the same time, it’s just so full.   

There are a lot of rocks in there too.

I think most days I come back to the tub with way too many rocks and a shady technique for shifting out the gold.  I try to be intentional about only keeping the gold in my pan, but I’m still learning the art of sifting.

How are you doing with your sifting?

I know some days when you get to the basin, it looks like all you have left are rocks.  Keep sifting, gently spinning the water.  The rocks will eventually fall over the edges.

Don’t give up and settle for some big sparkly rocks.  They aren’t the gold.  They won’t fill your life like the little flecks of the real thing.

Keep honing your art of sifting.  

You’ll find your gold.

to more love,


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