Yesterday I did something that a couple of years ago would have seemed idiotic to me – I found myself meditating while rubbingg a pebble in my hand. While I was having my morning devotions I had felt God nudge me to pick up one of the pebbles I gathered when Tom & I visited Coupeville shortly after his son, Clint’s death last year. The stone I chose was a mottled yellow and brown stone, rough with irregular striations running through it – not a particularly attractive stone and I almost put it back, but somehow I knew that was the one I was to use. I called it my “stone of remembrance” and put it alongside another beautiful stone I had picked up on the island of Iona in Scotland last year that I call my “stone of God’s faithfulness.”
To make it look more attractive I rubbed the stone with oil which it soaked in like thirsty soil. It seemed to come to life. As I looked at it I noticed an interesting pattern of light and dark intertwined through it and I was reminded that all of life is a pattern of light and dark, of good and evil intertwined. I thought back over some of the more painful memories in my life and reflected on the fact that I have often tried to either ignore or to completely get rid of the dark places in my life.
In my reflection from Henri Nouwen this morning he talked about bringing our pains home to our adult lives. “…you have to incorporate your pain into your self and let it bear fruit in your heart and the hearts of others… Taking up your cross means first of all befriending your wonds and letting themreveal to you your own truth.”
My stone of remembrance reminds me again that the wounds of my past, the challenges I continue to struggle with during this Lenten season are all an integral part of my life – after his resurrection Christ was identified by his scars, and so are we. Our scars are the result of our willingness to “take up our cross” and walk with Christ toward Jerusalem. They are the result of our willingness to bring our pain into the open so that we can find healing. Only then can we become the people Godintends us to be and only then can we be made whole.
This morning I noticed that my stone of remembrance was dry and unattractive again while the stone from Iona, my stone of God’s faithfulness still shone with the oil I had rubbed on it yesterday. As I again rubbed oil into the remembrance stone I reflected on how the molding of our own lives requires the constant application of God’s annointing oil to shine while the faithfulness of God shines without our doing anything. Amazing what we can learn from a rough and unattractive stone.