Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf’s a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.
– Robert Frost
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was my favorite book in High School and still has a place in my ‘top five’ list today. I read it several times; over and over again, willing the story between the two worn covers to never end. I fell in love with the honesty expressed by Ponyboy as he retold his story and how it coalesced with the stories of Sheri Valance, the Socs, the rest of the Greaser gang, and of course with Johnny Cade.
I related to Ponyboy at that time in my life, and even still do now because he stood apart from the average hoodlum that he was commonly associated with. He saw deeper, he allowed himself to feel stronger, and he loved longer and harder than any of his counterparts.
I admired Ponyboy.
I wanted to see beauty even when life got ugly. I suppose that’s why the scene in Chapter 5 was always my favorite when Ponyboy recited the poem by Robert Frost as shown above.
He was in the deepest, darkest time of his life; having simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time and was now paying for it. Yet, what does Ponyboy do?
He watches the sunrise.
The whole point of Robert Frost’s poem titled Nothing Gold Can Stay is one about the fleeting essence of this world.
Life is fleeting.
Good is fleeting.
Nothing good can stay.
Johnny remarks that the mist of the morning sunrise was the prettiest part; how it gleamed golden and silver hues.
Mist is fleeting. It doesn’t stay. In fact, it fades as quickly as it comes, gracing the watchful eye with its beauty for a few precious moments.
Later on, as Johnny is lying on his deathbed, he pulls Ponyboy close and whispers the iconic saying,
Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold.
Johnny knew that Ponyboy was unique; that he stood apart from the rest of the gang. He knew that Ponyboy saw things differently than the others.
He was innocent.
He was like a child with uninhibited and untarnished faith in all that was good in the world.
He was golden like the mist of an early morning sunrise. Though his innocence, like the mist threatened to vanish at any moment with the coming of day; the coming of judgment.
The coming of a life hardened by the harsh realities of their world.
Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold.
Hold onto the good.
Romans 12:2 tells us to not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Though our lives here on earth are fleeting, our spirit and our faith is not. We can stay gold. With the renewal of our minds, our hearts and our hope for greater things can remain untarnished by the dark and evil of this world.
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Our hearts and minds are renewed when we set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). When we set our minds on things above; when we look deeper, allow ourselves to feel stronger, and love longer and harder, we will be graced with the knowledge of a love that surpasses all knowledge.
We will be able to know that which is unknowable.
We will be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God.
This truth; this very reality that is ours for the taking is what sets us apart. It is what allows us to walk on water; to have a faith that is completely uninhibited and untarnished, even by the deepest of depths and the darkest of times.
Nothing gold can stay?
I beg to differ Mr. Frost.
While this world around us is fleeting, and yes indeed, even the good in the world is brief all the same, there is eternal good that will never fade.
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you…(1 Peter 1:4).
We have this living, everlasting hope that not all that’s good will fade. We have a goodness in us that is eternal and unending.
We have a King whose love for us will never fail.
We have a Home that will never perish.
We have a faith that can never be spoiled.
Hold onto all that’s good. Remember to watch for the golden hues that the Lord graces us with, reminding us of all the good that is yet to come.
Don’t stop looking deeper into the hearts of others, feeling the strength of the Holy Spirit within you, and loving the Lord your God and those around you longer and harder.
Stay gold my friend. Stay gold.