The Gathering Place is a tract of land used by those who search for the one True Light. Although there are higher places, this simple spot near the crest of a hill seems to beckon all who pass by. Near the summit of the hill is the Ring of Rocks - a circle of large stones about five to seven feet high and three to four feet across. Simple hands placed them there hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago. . .
The “Ring of Rocks” witnessed many long forgotten people who camped and lived near these stones in order to seek strength and wisdom; and somewhere, in the lost eons of time, an ancient hand chiseled the following words into one of the stones:
When darkness and light unite,
the One True Light
forever shatters the night.
Jacob traced the words with his finger and tried to grasp their meaning. After years of coming to this place, the words were still a riddle for which he had no answer. When he was younger, he sought the riddle’s answer from his father, who invariably said, “Search the Old Book. Seek and you will find.”
Feeling that he would never find the answer, Jacob reached for the Old Book and turned to his grandfather. “Tell me again, Granddad. How did our family first start coming here to use this place?”
The old man replied, “The old folks told me that my great-great granddaddy was the first to come here. He felt good about this place and camped over by that ring of huge rocks. That was over 200 years ago, when this was a true wilderness. Only Indians lived around here then. This was a special place for the Indians. They believed the circle of rocks had been here for all time…”
Jacob read the words that had meant so much to his parents. The depth drawn from his reading was shallow. The fact that Old Book did not hold the power for him that he sensed in others who were older was not nearly as troubling to him as the insight and depth he saw and felt in one or two others who were his age. Why could he not see or feel the depth they knew?
He placed the open book near the stones, and his hands unconsciously crossed to each side of his body as if to hold himself back. It was important for him to be in control. Why could he not see and feel as the others did? He felt as if he were standing in front of the door of a great stone wall, yet seeing nothing but the massive wall. Just a simple push on the door would reveal more light than he could hold.
Jacob turned again to his grandfather. “Granddad, how do you understand?”
Having waited all of Jacob’s life for him to ask this question, the old man’s heart leaped with joy. Yet, he knew that his reply must be such that the young man would want to know more. “To understand is to find the ‘True Light’. . .”
“What light is that, Granddad?”
“It is the glow of the heart blended with the reason of the mind.”
In the quiet whispers of the day’s dawn, “heart’s glow” and “mind’s reason” tramped in and out and back again in Jacob’s subconscious self . . . As he had done so many times before, he picked up the Old Book and stood facing the Ring of Rocks. He paused to run his fingers over the words on the stone, whispered, “Help me.” . . . , and began to read aloud. . .
“ ‘Lord, . . . how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’ . . . ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ ” . . . . .
An inkling of knowledge knocked at the door of Jacob’s heart and mind. He paused. . . As sunrise threw a myriad of brilliant colors across the skies, he read again. . . “Whoever follows me. . . will have the light of life.”. . . . .
Filled with joy and newness of life, he laid the opened Old Book beneath the chiseled words in the Ring of Rocks – leaving it there for other seekers of the riddle’s answer. Taking Granddad’s hand, he turned from the darkness to walk with forever with the One True Light of Life. . .
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