As a child, I collected stones. The unique features of each one I gathered drew me to them. Some found their way into my “special box” from my driveway. Their grayish white gravelly appearance didn’t necessarily stand out but they originated from my home and that marked their identity. Others I found on adventures. Again, their origins tell a story from my life. Stones found near the shoreline of Lake Michigan, near my home, bore witness to a bigger narrative: The beauty of God’s handiwork in creation and the ways they interact to bring out more of His radiance. The stone’s smooth surface speaks to the years of sand and water washing over them. Inside, my small treasure box, a mosaic of stones lined the walls.
As I grew older, friends replaced my stones. Collecting friends was not a hobby but a passion. Not for the sake of accumulating numbers but for broadening my understanding of who I am and who God is.
The unique features of each one drew me to each one. Some found their way into my heart merely because we were shared residence on the same street. Others, I found through adventures. Their origins connected to a moment in my life. Like my stones, some of these friendships have endured the friction of rough elements. Each one enhances my understanding of God’s character and artistry. A story of connection defines my attachment to them. Inside my heart, a mosaic of friends lines it’s walls.
But this collection will never end. Each person in my collection has forever altared my life. Each transaction carries an understanding of a bigger narrative and my identity within it. My view of God’s creative and sovereign hand expands with every addition.
And so do the walls of my heart.
This post is written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup/
Carlene Hill Byron says
Impressed that you are writing from the conference! Best to you! from #fmf
Thanks Carlene! Good thing it only takes five minutes!
Connie Udell says
Beautifully said, Stephanie. You are not just my daughter, but you shared my inner thoughts that I never wrote out on paper. At Camp Fire Girl summer day camp, (probably at 12 years old I learned a song that has stayed with me forever. I don’t remember the name of the song, but the words go like this…”Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold”. continues long time friendships from neighborhood, school, church, college, work, organizations, etc. I continue to meet new people of various ages…. who become friends. You are aware that some of my “collection” of friends go back to the early years in my neighborhood with two of my friendships going back 73 years……a larger collection of friendships began in kindergarten….71 years ago (we …15 of us…. celebrate our l o n g friendship every month when we meet for lunch in the food court of a local mall) After all of these years of celebrating joys and sorrows of our lives, our friendship is at a depth that we could never have imagined when we graduated from high school.. I believe that all of us would say that our long friendship is truly a blesslng…..a gift from God.
We learned that song in Girl scouts too.
Barbie Swihart says
This is beautiful. I’m at the #7 spot this week.
THIS: “But this collection will never end. Each person in my collection has forever altared my life. Each transaction carries an understanding of a bigger narrative and my identity within it. My view of God’s creative and sovereign hand expands with every addition. And so do the walls of my heart.” Captures so much the FMF community. I treasure these friendships so much! We are in the 3 spot this week.
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
Stephanie, this is a very moving essay.
I still collect stones; we have a gravel driveway, and it marks the liits of my freedom. I am no longer well enough to leave the property. If I pass out on the driveway, the dogs will drag me into the shade, and the neighbours know to look for me.
But there are some lovely stones here, and as automobile tires change the arrangement, new ones surface. It’s a work for a lifetime.
#1 at FMF this week.
E. Adams Wright says
Beautiful post, Stephanie. One of my pastors reminds us frequently that, “Life moves at the speed of relationships.” It is an abundant gift to have true friends and it is a gift, in many ways, that we give ourselves, keeping in mind Proverbs 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly…” 🙂 Blessings.
Wise Hearted says
I love that so many of us who write collect people. They make our writing richer and give it heart.