In the Bible, the ancient Hebrew people were often instructed by the Lord to take stones and set them up as a monument to establish a place of remembrance because of a spectacular event. The reason for these stones would be explained via oral tradition from generation to generation so that the major events that shaped the history of the nation would never be forgotten. These stones of remembrance predated the proliferation of written records so they became a tangible connection to the history and legacy of the people.
We have adopted this custom in our own culture in some ways which include the placing of monuments to honor war heroes as well as the erecting of headstones for graves to establish a lasting reminder of those who have gone before. It seems we humans often think we will never forget, yet the passage of time and the demands of the immediate have a way of erasing even the most profound moments of the past. Perhaps we need to take a moment to consider the value in these stones of remembrance.
This past weekend, I did a lot of reflecting back on the last three decades of my life and some significant moments that I wish I had been more intentional about remembering. I could have done a better job of establishing some stones along the way that I could revisit now instead of relying on my fleeting impressions and faded emotions. My husband and I celebrated our twenty seventh wedding anniversary this week and along with that, the three years we spent dating prior to our marriage which totaled thirty years of life together.
I found as I looked back on the significant moments of those years that often times instead of setting up permanent stones along the timeline of our life, I had skipped these stones, as it were into the river to see them hop and bounce across the glassy surface in a haphazard dance. Unlike those fixed tributes, standing firm and tall for all who pass by to examine, my stones rather dynamically glance along in my mind creating subtle ripples that extend from the many years past and touch our relationship yet today.
I recalled the first inklings of our love, seeds sown in the fall during projects we both worked on at church. Flirting and smiling from across the room, we barely spoke, yet clearly communicated our mutual interest as it grew. That stone from so long ago bounds across the water in my mind, casting circles of current that still fuel our own unique romance today. We spoke of our first shared holidays and how we learned to appreciate each other’s differences. Little pebbles pepper the surface of my mind with images, splashing furiously like a rainstorm as we walk back through the years. Such a delightful exercise, retracing the steps of our life together.
We are simple folks. Our celebrating included a quiet dinner together, a round of miniature golf and a shared ice cream sundae. Nothing extravagant. Nothing outrageous. But as we picked up the stones of remembrance and playfully tossed them back into the pond, I felt like a million bucks. The ripples from stones we tossed thirty years ago, stones of commitment and fidelity, stones of faith in God and honor for His word, stones of sacrifice and patience – these ripples have reached through three decades and still send gentle loving waves lapping at the shore of my heart. My life is richer because I have had the pleasure of sharing it with this incredible Godly man.
My stones of remembrance are not dramatic statues. They are not great works of art or historic monoliths set up and admired by all. My stones of remembrance are personal and delicate, tender moments that slowly spread their ripples through the passage of our days. I pick them up, feeling their cool smooth surface, and then I skip them through my mind. What a lovely way to celebrate thirty years of life and love.