As a child, did you ever pick up a stone just to see how they felt within your hand? Have you ever walked along the shore of a river bed looking for rocks? I found many. Sometimes the pocket of my raggedy, tattered jeans would overflow with the weight of stones. On vacations with my parents, I collected rocks, or ‘stones’ — as I prefer to call them. Rocks seem to be such a common word for them. I like to imagine how the rock formed. How many years did it take to reach the size and smoothness of this precious gem of a stone? My mother would get furious with me when she found the rocks. Many times she threw them away, just like she threw me away so many years later.
My grandfather and I would look for stones along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. When we fished along the back waters, I found stones. Some were multi-colored. Others were hardened stones formed from the Georgia red clay of the Chattahoochee River. I remember throwing stones into the water, and on one occasion, I told Papa I wanted to keep a stone. He shrugged his shoulders, refusing to understand why I felt a connection with a stone.
“It’s just a rock, you Foolish child,” he would say.
Still, I collect stones and my husband will always help me look for stones wherever we go. On my desk is a large river rock I found along the banks of Gatlinburg, TN. I suppose with a busy life I’d forgotten the significance of stones. I use this stone as a paper weight. Anything I want to protect, I place under that stone. I must remember from this day forward. Stones resemble strength…faith…and so much more. Today, I will spend a bit of time rubbing the stone I am looking at while writing this. I will thank this beautiful smooth stone for its significance and strength. On days when I am melancholic, I rub that brownish stone, just to feel its strength. The next time I visit my mother’s grave and my father’s grave I will find stones, placing one on each grave site so my parents will know I visited.
I display stones around my house. One stone reminds me of my dad and his battle to survive esophageal cancer. After his death, I placed that stone in my curio cabinet. Sometimes I reach inside, rub it and remember the strength my dad shared during his illness. Touching it takes me back to the happy times I built with my father. I remember his pride in me. His love. His faith. His courage.
How about you? Do you look for stones whenever you visit a new place? I do and will continue to do just that. Stones provide calmness, faith and strength during days when I feel weak and lost. Stones are a solid foundation guiding me through the appreciative, faithful life I strive to live each day of my life. Here’s a toast to life, and to Stones!