Stones of Our Lives Written by Michael Lee Joshua

April 22, 2011
by Michael Lee Joshua

The old story about stone soup by an unknown writer always comes to my mind this time of year. You know the one, a stranger comes into town and begins boiling a big pot of water – then adds stones. Everyone watching him in the middle of the town square can see him drop the stones into the pot – one at a time.




– one stone…




– another stone…




– the last stone…


As people gathered around to watch, he mentioned how much better it would be with a vegetable or two. Neighbors, one after another, donate something to the pot. Soon the stone soup becomes a meal.


A cooperative group of people pulling together to turn a pot of boiling water and a couple of stones into a soup for the community.


A lesson we could all learn.


Stones have always played a part in our lives.


As children we skipped them across ponds. A nice flat one was the premium choice. A sideways pitch, counting the times it skidded across the top of the water was healthy and fun competition for boys and girls. Children get to throw rocks and nothing gets broken – usually.


Stones served as a substitute for a missing baseball during our elementary years. Stickball – a stick and a stone were all we needed for a pickup game in a field – or the street. Sometimes larger rocks served as bases or home plate.


Middle school – a rock polisher was the one thing we had to have for Christmas. The noise of a stone turning in the chamber was obnoxious to parents, but a rhythmic sound for us. The rocks never really got all that polished, but parents would oooh and ahhh just the same, silently hoping that we had gotten it out of our system and would move on to another activity – a quiet one.


As teenagers, we are likely to have pitched one (or two) at a bedroom window to let someone know we were waiting outside. Our heart hanging in the balance. Would she pull back the curtains and motion that she was coming to the door? As the rocks pinged against the glass, we hunkered down – waiting for an invitation…


Driving a car was much more fun when we skidded the tires through the rocks and sent them flying up from the back tires. Of course, this was before front wheel drive. Feeling the back end of the car slide around and hearing the stones crunching against one another seemed so powerful at the time.


As young people in the military, we moved a pile of stones from here to there – with no rhyme or reason. We were simply told to do it. And we did. We had no choice. We longed for freedom again, but this exercise, though it felt futile, taught us about being a servant. To do what you’re told, simply because someone else had the authority.


As adults, we buy stones. But now, we have them set in rings or necklaces. Carat, Clarity, Color, Cut – the “Four Cs.” We no longer pick them up to throw them across a pond, or hit with a stick. We’ve already been successful at getting someone to respond to the ping on the window glass – if we are researching the “Four Cs.”


We don’t need to use them to validate our love, but we do just that. Jewelry advertisements have taken their toll. “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” has become a subconscious mantra – we can’t help but get on board.


We succumb to a societal norm that tells us we must buy them. And we must buy the biggest one we can afford.


Oh – If you can’t afford it, finance it.


Class rings, birthstone rings, promise rings, engagement rings – there are plenty of reasons to buy them. Yellow gold, white gold, sterling silver, titanium – sometimes the metal is merely an afterthought. You know that it is 18K gold, after all, it is stamped inside the band – but what others see and what your loved one displays is the stone. The beauty is in the stone – the perceived value is in the size.




A testament to our love for one another.




“The stones will cry out” – personified in Scripture.




One stone.


One large stone.


Unpolished, raw, jagged and dirty


One large stone.


Rolled away.


A testament to His love for us.




We don’t think about stones very much, maybe we should.