by Lesley-Anne Evans, April 2009
I walk to the edge of the water… only yesterday it was rippled by a soft wind moving the surface and my attention had been drawn to the rhythmic sound of the waves. Today the lake is almost silent. Snow is falling unexpectedly as it’s April and time for Spring. But the falling snow adds to the silence, the hush, and I find myself in a holy place.
My eyes are drawn to the stones along the shore. The water level is low at this time of the year, so the rocks are exposed in a way that they never are in summer when I’m down at the beach more regularly.
The stones along the edge of the lake are rounded, beautifully smooth and round and coloured in tones of red and brown and grey. The water is transparently clear, so every rock on the bottom of the shallows is distinguishable. There too, the colours are similar to those on the shore, yet defined by the water they are darker, more dramatic. They too are rounded and smooth.
As I stand and look down at my feet and around me, I can see that there are millions of rocks, each one different and unique. It reminds me of people… side by side and some touching and each one different and unique. Some rocks are in the shallows, some in the deeper water. Some are in the transitional areas along the lake’s edge where they will sometimes be submerged, sometimes exposed. Some are permanently part of the beach… unless someone picks them up and throws them unexpectedly to a different location. Beach stone to lake stone and back is possible with the help of someone, some child perhaps.
What stone am I God, I wondered. Am I on the beach, warm and dry, or am I submerged in water, wet and cool and defined by colours only the water can provide? Am I a stone in the shallows, or the deep?
I sense that I am an emerging lake stone… in the riparian zone where sometimes I am more of the lake and less of the land, yet sometimes the very opposite. My circumstances still change me, storms can move me, and I appear quite different one day from the next. The parallels are not what I’d like them to be… a rock , stable and fixed.
Then I’m reminded of stones of another kind, and it doesn’t matter their origin or their appearance or even their location, rather it matters their purpose and usefulness for the task. I think of the stones that were lifted from the bed of the Jordon River and placed on piles as a sign, altars of worship to the God that delivers. And I desire that for me. That my life be a living sacrifice, each day laid on the altar with other stones as a sign of what God has done. A simple lake stone, emerging and becoming part of something beautiful and significant and pointing to God.
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You did a wonderful job making the connections between us and the stones. Our differences, sometimes we touch, all of us in different areas, but all of us children of God.
Thanks Lesley-Anne for this analogy and all the potential for teaching us about individuality and postion etc.. Like you I live near water here on the Isle of Wight. I wondered if you had read my piece "In my element" when God spoke to me during a regular walk?
Leslie Anne~ You took me there - the analogies are crisp and clean - wonderful word pictures!