This morning I sit in my backyard surveying a remarkable transformation. I have been utilizing stepping stones in my garden and yard to create continuity and cohesiveness. It is amazing to understand the effectiveness size, shape and density of each stone have with proper placement to manifest incredible results. Some are nestled beneath fragile stems of hydrangas creating support and protection; others, surrounded by moss and ground cover, add beauty, depth and character; while more are strategically placed to offer secure footing for travel. Together these stepping stones create pathways filled with ingenuity, creativity, structure, beauty and functionality. These stones are simply placed where they serve the best and most rewarding purpose.
Last night, I was honored to listen to a young man recount his painful journey through drug use as he battled to recognize his inner voice and self worthiness. His calm voice, filled with blessed assurance, resonated among the group of 150 listeners against the backdrop of a bonfire on the beach. As he communicated his story, he shared insights of his secret and painful struggle. It was revealing – stepping stones – exposed to fierce elements and high risks. It was the hope of his family that love could conquer any obstacle in this young man’s life. Although true in part, for love is vital, ultimately, it is necessary for us to love ourselves, humbly with grace, broken and imperfect. A lesson we must develop in our own hearts and encourage in others. During these dark valleys, he spoke of not having the courage to take steps toward protection and healing. Instead, he lingered in the harsh elements.
As I reflected on his words, I too, felt myself on a stepping stone, one naive of certain forces, protected from elements he had faced. Still, from this place, I extended unconditional love and support to this young man who had hovered on footing exposed and vulnerable. I found courage in his words and my own heart, my hope was linked to his and our paths, however briefly, had merged together. We found ourselves standing on the same stone in celebration and gratefulness.
It is amazing to connect and understand the stepping stones we have traveled these last seven years as I absorb the words of my oldest son. Throughout his tumultous travels, God has carefully placed stones around and alongside his journey as well as mine, stones supporting us through circumstances, connecting us through hardships and victories and exposing us to moments of screaming anxiety and quiet serenity.
As I find myself replenished and nourished by his voice, I pause here, hesitating briefly with contentment and hope. LIfe is ever changing, ever challenging. Nothing in our existence is ever completely isolated, for within all opposition is resolution as within all confusion is clarity. Here, I am consumed with the joys of encounters such as this – to dwell – in reflection – to discover – to love – as we stall, crawl, walk and run upon life’s stepping stones.