Yesterday my husband and I went to the garden center to buy stones to place around the patio on our little courtyard for drainage. We had looked all over to find stones we liked and had finally found some river rock at this particular landscape center. We brought in two containers to collect our stones, a large bucket and an old recycling bin. I told my husband I would fill up the bucket and he could take care of the other container. The pile of stones was like a mountain, and I carefully sorted through them, looking for ones whose shape and color and size I liked. Meanwhile, George kept scooping up handful after handful and throwing them in the blue bin until he had all he could carry. He laughed at me, goodnaturedly, and made some comment about me searching for the perfect stones.
When we got home and unloaded the rocks, my husband said he needed to go to the hardware store to pick up a few things. I told him I would stay home and get started on placing the stones around the patio. It was a tedious task, picking out stones that would fit tightly together, not leaving too big of a gap between them. I would pick out a stone, place it in the sand, then pluck it out again when it didn’t seem to fit just right. I thought of Christ’s words, reminding his listeners of the Scripture that said, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
Slowly and painstakingly, my little row of river stones began to come together, and I could picture the torrent of rainwater that would rush over them during the next rainstorm, just as a river once did, making their rough surfaces smooth. Again, I thought of the Scripture in 1 Peter, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.” I was glad that I had stayed behind to do this task because, judging from the way my husband had gathered these rocks, I was sure he would not have been so careful placing them.
The longer I worked with the stones, the more I reflected on them. They reminded me of how my mother used to love jigsaw puzzles. She was a genius at being able to look at a piece and knowing just where it would fit. I thought about how these stones were like the years of our lives, fitting together in a pattern, maybe a little messy, but strong nonetheless.
By the time George came home, I had nearly finished placing all the rocks in my bucket. He saw my masterpiece and said “Looks nice, honey.” Then he picked up the big blue recycling bin and dumped out his pile of stones in the area I hadn’t reached yet. No picking, no planning, no pattern. Dang! I liked his better! And another quiet moment of reflection shot to pieces.