Pebbles. A millions little pieces that can become the ground we walk on. As a child, I knew the feeling of walking barefoot on little pebbles, for we had pebbles that filled the spaces around the back of our home. We played in pebbles by making mounds, we smoothed the pebbles with rakes, we threw and scattered the pebbles with buckets and dump trucks and were strongly reminded to make sure the pebbles get back to the area within the brick and not in the grass. I love the feeling of those little smooth pebbles under my feet…if it’s a group of them that is. If it’s one pebble on a concrete porch or kitchen floor, then it sure doesn’t feel great at all.
Rocks were a love of mine as well as I was intrigued, even at a young age, by the designs and composition of rocks. Fools gold and mica were always a fun find and I secretly hoped that one day while looking for crawdads under creek smoothed rocks that, maybe, just maybe, we’d find some real gold. My grandfather knew of my interest in rocks and would bring me back samples marked with their origin. His visits to the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert afforded treasures which he brought back home. My favorite little treasure however, was from the black sand beaches of Hawaii. It is not permitted to bring back the sand, but somehow, my grandfather managed to gather the sand that had “accidentally gotten in his shoes”. I still have that little bottle of sand from the beaches of Hawaii.
As a child, one of my favorite things was to play in the creek and build little dams. We lived near a golf course and would hunt frogs and crawdads as well as golf balls, but when there were none to be found, we’d build dams in the creek. How fun it was when we got to go to our friends’ house who had a big mountain “creek” in their back yard. We were busy for hours constructing dams and watching how we could change the flow of the water. That’s a powerful feeling for a little kid and what a feeling of accomplishment it was to build little pools in the water. Of course, they were all temporary, but oh, the fun we had in the building.
I built a rock wall at the dream land that we had purchased years ago. It was on the lake. It was a work in progress and a labor of love. I should have LABOR in capital letters as they weren’t merely rocks that were part of this wall, but really some could’ve been classified as boulders. I would move these in centimeters with the greatest of effort and ingenuity ONLY when no one was watching! I’d be asked, “How’d ya move that, Mom?!”, and would smile and think, if you only knew! Another fun memory was paying the kids ten cents a rock and 25 cents for the bigger ones. This kept my lively brood pretty active at the lake when they were done with fishing and swimming. I could see the business minds in a few of my children pretty quickly with this mission as their dimes and quarters sure added up, as the rock wall was built up with their finds.
Not sure why I’m going on and on about rocks. But as a big mission of this blog is to kind of share with my kids thoughts and beliefs, memories and hopes, well, I’m just going to go with it. So here comes another memory. In college and in the early years of working, I loved to go hiking. I especially liked walking the trails less traveled, those which you must be strategic to navigate, the trails where you’re rock climbing without the belay rope. I love the challenge. I love the beauty. I love the jumps to safety and the feeling of a mission accomplished. I love the climb.
And now? Well, these days, I’m not rock climbing, or walking on those pebbles outside of the home I grew up in. I don’t hunt for crawdads under rocks or build dams in creeks. The rock wall is long since buried, but I do still have that sweet little rock collection from my Papa Les, including the black sand from Hawaii. But my favorite rock collection these days is in a large bowl. Years ago, I started putting a rock in a jar for the answered prayers in our family. At first, I wrote down some of the answers in a little prayer journal, but that got lost. I’ve started a new one each year and love to see the little pebbles just pile up, a real visual of how God is so very present in our every day lives and how He truly does answer prayer.
I’ve shared prayer jars with some of my friends, and I can still remember my friend Janet. When she opened the gift and I explained the meaning, she just smiled and proceeded to pour a bunch of marbles in the jar! I smiled as she said that He has answered so many prayers already! She was battling cancer and God did so many beautiful things in her life during that time. He made His presence known. With prayer, sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes wait, there’s something so much better. But He answers, and just like my rock wall, the dam, the group of pebbles, a collection of rocks that represent answered prayer is a beautiful thing to see. It is for me. We are to call to mind His blessings. The Old Testament speaks of building monuments to remember His deeds. And rocks? These rocks, and these little pebbles, can be such a reminder of His blessings…for we are reminded that if we don’t praise Him, the rocks indeed will. Praising God that even rocks have value and meaning. If they do, how much more do we?
P.S. If you’re wondering how this all fits in the monochromatic theme, well, you’re probably in good company because I forgot that little detail! But it was in my mind all along, because, in most of the analogies, the rocks are grouped together and become one. Kind of like the picture of the pebbles I shared…they are many different shades, but they are one group of whitish pebbles. The rocks of the dam were many, but together, they were a powerful one. The stones in the jar are many, and they are one beautiful message of One who answers prayer. I can see the individual rocks or I can see the whole picture. I can see the individual hues, or I can see the one color…And I know it’s a stretch, but that, that is how all of these memories of rocks hopefully fit into this monochromatic theme for the weekly photo challenge!