She sat on a large, flat stone beside the spring, a sandal lying on the ground as she rubbed a travel weary foot. Her bags littered the space around her. She sighed as she considered having to pick them up and walk again. She was tired. No, more than tired. It was the kind of weariness that began seeping into the marrow of ones bones. She didn’t know if she could go on one more day. She didn’t know if she wanted to go on one more day.
Movement, a shadow drawing closer, drew attention from the corner of her eyes. She discretely lifted the sandal and put it in its rightful place then dropped her foot to the ground. A man wearing olive colored cotton shorts, a light weight linen button shirt, and brown leather sandals approached the spring. He nodded a greeting. A smile revealing white teeth shone in contrast against the deep tan color of his skin.
She suddenly realized she was alone with a stranger in the middle of nowhere. She contemplated heaving her heavy bags and moving on.
As if reading her mind the man answered, “There is no need for you to go.” He motioned to the spring and the large stone upon which she sat. “Rest. This is plenty for both of us.”
Her taut muscles eased. She still did not speak, but nodded. She watched intently as he cupped his hands and drank his fill. He splashed water on his face, little beads glistening in his neatly trimmed beard, and then splashed his head which was a mess of unruly short curls. He looked strong, healthy, all man, yet he possessed an alluring innocent child-likeness. She didn’t mean to stare, didn’t realize that she was, until he sat on the stone with her and smiled openly. She felt her cheeks warm and nervously tucked some long, dark hair behind an ear.
He motioned toward her luggage. “Very nice luggage, but very worn. You must have been gone for quite a while. Are you now returning home?”
Home. A word she hadn’t considered for a long time. What was home? It seemed to be a place the whole world longed for yet so very few had the privilege of finding. She didn’t know how to answer him.
“I suppose your luggage contains cherished souvenirs from your travels,” he continued. “Would you mind showing me your favorite mementos?”
She squirmed on the stone. The air seemed to increase by ten degrees. She marveled that he looked so cool in this unrelenting heat.
Again, as if reading her mind, he pointed to the smallest of her bags. “Please show Me.”
She was doubtful but his smile was inviting and his hazel eyes sincere. She couldn’t resist the urge to expose what she’d been carrying to this stranger. She was certain he’d never believe it. She knew he would be in shock. She lifted the smallest of bags onto her lap and pulled out a rock. Amazingly, the man did not look one bit surprised by what she produced but encouraged her to continue with a nod. One by one she plucked out rocks and named them. “The man who cut me off in traffic. The women at church who would not accept me. The neighbor who vandalized my property . . . .” On and on went the list of offense.
When she was finished, he held out his hand. “May I?”
One by one she gave him the rocks and one by one he pressed them between his hands and made them powder which the wind took away. She stared in wonder, suddenly feeling cooler and lighter.
He pointed to the next bag. “Show Me.”
She did not set the next bag on her lap but began opening it from its place at her feet. Again, she pulled out one rock at a time and began naming them. “The peers who thought me too fat, too poor, and too ugly to be part of them. The teacher who said I’d never amount to anything. The friend of the family who continually compared me to their daughter. I never measured up . . . .”
“May I?” he asked again.
She briefly hesitated. These rocks were bigger. Could he do the same to these as the ones before? Wanting more relief, she began passing the rocks to him one at a time. Once again he pressed them to powder and released them to the wind. She’d never have to carry them again.
His smile enlarged as she turned her face to the sun and took a deep breath. When was the last time she had noticed the beauty surrounding her and breathed it in? He let her revel in this newfound feeling before pointing to the largest piece of luggage.
She stretched from her seat on the rock and reached for the final piece. She drug it to her feet and marveled that she had been able to drag it for so long. But could the man do anything with these rocks? They were practically boulders.
“Show Me,” he softly repeated.
She slowly unzipped the top of the oblong bag and peered in. She looked at the man. Did he really want to see this? Did she really want to show him? Suddenly the prior cool and relief she had experienced dissolved. She broke out into a sweat and her heart began to race. As painful as this piece of luggage had been to carry, could she really let it go? To empty this bag would be emptying herself. Would there be anything left of her soul? She gave the man a sideways look. His eyes possessed no mockery or rejection.
His voice was barely above the sound of the wind but she clearly heard him say, “Trust Me.”
She heaved a very large rock and sat it on her lap. She felt her cheeks heat with emotion. “He said he loved me.” Her voice broke. “Then he left me . . . .”
The man gently placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. He let her cry until there were no more tears then motioned for the rock. She nodded. He picked it up, placed it between his hands and pressed, and just like that, it was powder.
She blinked away the traces of tears on her lashes. If he could squash that rock surely he could crush the next. But the next . . . those wounds ran deep. She hesitated, took a deep breath, and heaved another rock onto her lap. Her legs disappeared beneath it. “The person that . . . that sexually abused . . . me.” She lay her forehead against the rock, her body shook with sobs. The man sat silently, waiting for her to be emptied of the pain of that rock. This time she did not wait for him to ask. Having no strength to lift it again, she nudged the rock toward him. He effortlessly lifted it and just as effortlessly pressed it to powder.
Ah, the last two rocks. She wasn’t going to attempt to heave them. At the moment, she felt too weak to lift a butterfly. She bent at the waist and let the cover slip away to reveal the top rock.
“My baby.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “The clinician said I’d be relieved . . . .”
Her pain was palpable. Once again she was engulfed with anger and shame and more regret than any human could conceivably bare without losing their mind. She didn’t offer that rock right then and the man didn’t ask.
She proceeded. She forced the remaining fabric of the luggage over the final rock. How did she carry such monstrosities for as long as she did? “My dad,” she croaked. “I was never enough. Never, ever enough,” she woefully repeated.
The man knelt on the ground, on the other side of the rocks, and looked up into the face of the broken young woman. He gently tipped her head up by lifting her chin so that her eyes met his.
“May I?” He asked.
“Yes,” was her hoarse reply.
He placed his strong hands on the top boulder and then the bottom and easily crushed them to powder between his hands as he had the others. With nothing now in between them, the young woman fell to her knees and threw her arms around the man’s neck. She sobbed for all she had loved, for all she had lost, for all the liberty she suddenly felt and for all the time passed which she wished she had been free but wasn’t. When the last of her emotions were spent the man took her by the hand and they both stood.
“Do you want to see your exchange for the rocks?”
He opened his enclosed hand and revealed a clear-as-glass whole heart. “It is my gift to you. Will you receive it?”
She weighed his question carefully. She instinctively knew that it cost him everything to make her whole. She also knew it would cost her to keep his gift. Was she willing to forsake all others for the sake of following him? She looked into his compassionate eyes and knew there never had been and never would be anyone else like him in her life. She needed him. She loved him. “I will receive,” she whispered.
She closed her eyes and felt a firm yet gentle pressure in her chest where he pressed. It was pure love and it exploded in her being. For the first time in years she felt like she was home.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you,” was his solemn vow.
She threw her arms around his neck again and held him tightly. This time she pulled away, laughing. “I must go! I must go tell everyone what you have done!”
“Yes, yes!” He agreed. “Tell them so that they all may come.”
She practically skipped away. She twirled around and blew him a kiss, taking away his presence within her.
His smile lingered as did his gaze. Then he slowly pivoted and scanned the horizon. A man, tie askew, jacket crunched in the crook of his arm, loaded down with a brief case and several pieces of luggage was slowly making his way to the spring. He was tired. So very, very tired.
In the distance beyond was another man wearing jeans, a hard hat, and dog tags. His burden was a huge duffel bag slung over his shoulder and he pushed a large wheel barrow loaded with rocks of assorted sizes. He could barely lift his boot clad feet . . . .
The Man smiled. He was ready to receive them.
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Colossians 2:14 KJV
Jesus took everything satan could legally hold against us and canceled it on the cross. Will you join me today and lay down your box of rocks? Let’s also ask God to help us see ourselves as He sees us: Flawless when covered by the Blood of the Lamb. Oh, and let’s not forget to tell everyone what Jesus has done for us.