I love collecting rocks, and much to my surprise discovered recently that I am not alone. When I ask a group of people “who likes to gather rocks?” probably half of the hands in the room are raised. We pick them up on the beach, beside a stream, along a trail. They remind us of friends, past experiences, places we love.
Unfortunately most of us don’t know what to do with the rocks once we gather them. There are only so many that we can display, and a lot of them look pretty ordinary anyway. Recently however I have started using my rocks as part of my spiritual observances. I paint pictures on them – what I call poor man’s icons. Or I write on them and then use them to decorate my Advent, Lenten and summer prayer gardens. Slowly I am creating a collection of meaningful decorated rocks that I can return to for inspiration time and again.
I find that participants at retreats and workshops also love to write and paint on rocks as the collection above shows and thought some of you might like to give it a go too.
1 packet paint pens – fine tipped
1 pencil and note paper
1 rock – smooth as possible
Wash the rock and allow to dry
Hold the rock in your hand, close your eyes and sit quietly in the presence of the Lord. Is there a special word or phrase that comes to mind? Write it down. Say the word several times slowly. What images come to mind?
Make a rough drawing on your note paper.
Now mark out the pattern on your rock with the pencil. You might want to skip this step if you feel confident in your drawing ability but I have found that marking it both adds to the reflective experience and also produces a better painting
Now have fun with the paint pens. Use plenty of colour. Make this a dramatic statement that will catch your attention when you see it again.
Put it on your desk or in your sacred space and use as a focus for your prayers over this next week. Write in your journal the impressions you have each day as you reflect on the rock. You may like to add to the painting as God prompts you as I did with the image below.
This is not the only time I have written about rocks. You might like to check out these previous posts: