The Touch Stone
The smoothness of a smooth stone is like no other. Remember going to the tourist shops and picking out the smooth stones and letting them slither through your fingers, what a feeling. The colors were amazing, and the shapes interesting, but the touch was like none other. Maybe it was the coolness as much as anything. Or, perhaps it was the intimidating size of the bin or tub holding them and the knowledge that you were limited, to only a few choice ones. Only some smart aleck would know if it was granite or amethyst or some other obscure nugget from Persia, you just knew it was wonderful.
Giving little thought to the facts that they may not have started out smooth, you simply wanted to put a few in the little leather pouch and take them with you. Did you show them to everyone or only your friends that would appreciate them? Did you treat them as casual gravel or put them in the goldfish bowl later? Did they stay precious and in a memory drawer or simply get tossed by your brothers catapult in the war of the green plastic men? Either way the rocks were a memory. It wasn’t until later that you realized that rocks aren’t all smooth and most don’t want to be. It was the gravel that was most prevalent and therefore first attempted to be made smooth. The dust in my hand and the speed at which it accumulated soon told me this was a failed attempt. I needed a tougher rock. Finding one that seemed suitable I also found that the only thing smoothing was my skin, since it accumulated just as quickly.
This challenge was met with the addition of another rock to be the abrasive. Now I had an accumulation of dust but it was from both in a beautiful combination of colors. Asking “smarter” people than me told me that water, wind or even a tumbler might be employed in the actions taken to remove the rough edges, but I needed to start with a rock that was larger than what I wanted to finish with, because there will be a loss of the original form and size. I also found out that only hard rocks would ever be made smooth. These came from special places in the earth that experienced a lot of heat or pressure or both. If the sandy rocks were smooth, it was due to the remnants not being swept away and giving the appearance of smooth. But come the wind, rain, or pressure, the grit would be gone and the truth would show. Becoming smooth requires the removal and that takes time and consistency. The relentless drip of the rain drops over years. Maybe the tumbling in a stream or river, the wind blown sanding of a dry climate, or the manmade tumbler made them smooth.
Like the special people we know, the smooth ones that we want to keep and treasure are the ones that went through the heat and pressure to be come hard. Then they went through the wearing away of the edges. How we long to be close and be held by them. How we long to rub our hand over them and go back to the day they became a memory to us. Like a stop on a special journey, they stand out. Both for the trip that I took, and the fact that I found them at all. They are dear for they are the place where I lost part of my burden and found a resting place. For a short time, there was rest, maybe a hug. Then like a child, I was off again.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that the loss of the burden took off some of my edge. I was much older when I understood that that loss was the beginning of the smoothing, that I needed to be smooth for someone else later in life. It was also what taught me that I was a hard rock and that there were times that would be difficult to endure while I was being smoothed over, so the luster could show. That the grain and the seams would be seen as pleasant to the eye and noticed for their beauty. The patience required for this was beyond my comprehension, but not my blindness. I was glad for the smooth spot and would wear it like the childhood scar on my left hand. Ready to be shown to any and all that came close, and some that didn’t that I had to chase down. There, at the time that I had to tackle someone to show my badge of honor, did it turn to dust? It was a lack of smoothness and it hurt someone that I loved. Those tears of the knowledge that I had hurt them washed away the dust. Then, there was only wet sandy gravel. So I got up and went to deal with my shallowness.
More tears washed away the evidence; there had been some mud on my smooth spot. It had dried and become rough and abrasive, and so had I, but that was clean now. As it was washed away, there had been a rubbing I didn’t like, that had made me smoother yet. It was a scar I didn’t like to show, the pain caused to a friend, but it was mine now. How I understood now. There is something about the saints that make them saints. They have smooth places that they aren’t proud of and don’t want to show very much. Reminders of pain caused, which allowed the washing away the pain with tears, leaving the memory a little smoother. How I had wanted to be loved like a saint, not knowing that the tumbler would make me smooth. What was in the tumbler that beat on the rocks and knocked off the rough points? Oddly enough, round beads. Made smooth for a reason, that the gentle and consistent action of the beads would smooth the stones tossed in, and left there for a while. There would come a time to remove the stones, but there was a required time to allow them to get smooth.
If you had stones in your pocket with the names of your friends on them, would they be memories of your failures forgiven. Would you remember that the pain caused to them rubbed them smooth while the tears of forgiveness washed away the mud that stained your friendship. Is that what makes them friends? The forgiving of your coarseness when they wanted you to be smooth? That they held on to you anyway, and you were glad they did. How many stones are in your pocket? Have you got five smooth stones to take with you into life’s battle? Who has a stone in their pocket with your name on it? Is there more than one person on that list? Are they the ones that know that they were forgiven? Did you tell them you forgave them for the slight that occurred? Was it necessary to tell them or did they know? When Jesus told the twelve that the one to whom He gave the bread would betray him, none of them knew. His ability to forgive extended to the future violations; to the point that the group didn’t need to know they had been forgiven because they didn’t know that they had caused pain. Is this a goal that is for me to strive toward? If he forgave them, and hadn’t let on in the least, it is certain that I have hurt Him and he has forgiven me without telling me that I had even hurt him, let alone knowing that I needed to ask for forgiveness. Can I do the same? With the people I know? With the ones that have hurt me? What if they don’t ask for forgiveness, can I wait?
Jesus said that He would give us a stone that has a name on it that only He and you will know. That means it is in his pocket. Smooth already, with your name, already. And He wants you to know. You don’t even know what you need to ask forgiveness for, and it is done already. I thought I would tell you, “You are forgiven!” Really! Can you tell a friend? Can you believe it yourself?
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