The Rev. Nancy E. Gossling
I just finished part of the walkway to our home on the Cape. It’s been a slow process of collecting stones from the beach and then placing them, much like a puzzle, into place. Collecting the stones was a process in and of itself. Sometimes I would walk down to the beach and pick up the rocks on the hot sand. Other times I grabbed them from under the water or between the huge waves that crashed onto the beach. I discovered that these rocks can hurt your legs when they’re hurled against you by the force of nature. Waves are just being waves; rocks are just being rocks. I was just being…..
I would carry my collection of rocks back to the house in two cloth bags. I felt like a laborer, or a farmer, straining and sweating under the heavy loads that I carried on my shoulders. One day, I was on a mission; I made several trips back and forth from the beach to the house. Another day, I casually tossed a dozen or so rocks into my beach bag, as an afterthought to my afternoon on the beach. Several other days, I drove our old Ford down to the beach specifically to give my tired shoulders a break, and to avoid the path in which I encountered the snake. It’s nice to have options as a “laborer or farmer harvesting rocks from the beach.” I am aware of my privilege.
I finished the walkway this week, the week after my mother died. I only had a little left to go and Paul and Brian were arriving soon. I wanted the walkway to be complete, to be finished, just like my mother’s earthly life. I wanted my heart stones laid down to rest, paving the way into new life. Love rocks even when our hearts feel like stone.
I was in the Orleans version of a whole foods store looking for the greeting cards which had been made by a local artist, a member of the Episcopal Church in town, and a fellow gym rat. We had been sharing stories about our stone collections and the reasons why we collected them. Naturally, a book called Heart Stones, by Josie Iselin, caught my eye. This author shares pictures of different shapes and colors of rocks and puts them alongside one word: mystery, joy, sincerity, complexity, hope, friendship, wonder, solitude, passion, adventure, home….to name only a few. She writes, “The heart stone is a lovely vessel. When you take it home and set it on your windowsill or dresser, its presence buoys you up. When you give it to a friend or lover, you give what you have filled it with: strength, love, and confidence.”
Love Rocks! “Cracked or blemished, lopsided or imperfect” we love God and others like rocks. Shaped by the forces of nature, and made in the image of Love, we are mysterious, complex, and loving to name only a few adjectives. Sometimes we hurt; sometimes we hurt others. Humans are just being humans, naturally. And Love still Rocks!