My house is filled with rocks. Lots of them. They help me remember.
Handfuls of pumice spill from glass containers in the bathroom and from a ceramic pot in light blue made by our oldest. They remind me of our girls’ faces, all wonder, when they picked up the rocks spotted with holes like pancake batter on the griddle and realized they were almost as much air as stone. They help me remember time around the campfire, boating in Lemolo Lake with family.
An “L” shaped rock that nestled among spawning salmon sits on the sill over our kitchen sink. It represents the last name we five share and reminds me of life’s beautiful struggle and the place we hold in each other’s journey upstream.
On our sideboard, an apothecary jar, cream-colored ceramic bowl and cheese dome cradle rocks. Shades of plum, ivory, chocolate, pink, charcoal. They remind me of Wallowa Lake and Whidbey Island and of rest, bounty, friendship.
In the book of Joshua, God’s chosen people pile rocks so they will not forget how God led them across the Jordan River on dry ground when they stepped out in faith. Looking upon the memorial of twelve large stones, they would recall how God in his mighty love and care brought them to the land promised, and they would tell their children of God’s deliverance.
Rocks do help me remember, but there’s something else, too.
From time to time, I will reach into a pocket of my jacket or purse and find a smooth, soft stone. Most often I don’t know if it’s a treasure plucked from a parking strip by one of my girls or a remnant of gardening, but when I hold it, something in me stills and secures. It’s as if these nuggets of earth recall the solid ground under my feet. The One Far Greater. Far Stronger. Unchanging.
The Rock that is higher than I. My God, my Fortress.
Today, I read these words from 1 Peter and my heart settles in that deep place of knowing.
“As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
I’ve read it before, but this time it hits me. He is the LIVING STONE, and we are his living stones.
And I wonder, could it be that the Great Stone is using us to build places of remembrance, places of praise?
Recently, a dear friend of mine lost her father to a fierce and ruthless illness. Her heart torn, and my heart breaking for her, I found myself amazed to see the way she stood firm. Grieved beyond belief, yes, but there was something radiant about the way she stood in the fullness of her knowing. That her daddy dwelled now in the Land he’d longed for. That his suffering had reached its end. That they would all move forward. That God was still good.
Like small fragments of rock that rest next to the big rock from whence they came, my friend resembled her Rock. Steadfast. Beautiful. She was and is a warm living stone, pointing the way to the Living Stone himself. She helps me remember.