Guidelines: Rocks


By Simon Ambit

The after school rush had finally ended and in a flurry of shoes coming off, backpacks being dropped and lunch boxes being unpacked, things got settled in for the afternoon as the pantry and fridge were foraged for snacks and the excitements of the day were told.

The stories ranged from games played at recess to who got in trouble in class and what activities were done that day. Once tummies were satisfied and stories told, my kids went to take a break before homework and daily reading. As I watched through my kitchen window at the trampoline tricks and the swings moving with the pumping of little legs, I noticed my youngest sons’ shoes from school were lying in the middle of the floor.

As I picked them up to put them on the shoe rack, I noticed pieces of small sand and rocks splattered along the tile beside them. Upon further inspection, I noticed a larger amount of pebbles and rocks piled inside of his shoes. I walked to the garbage to shake out the sand. The more I shook his shoes, the more sand and debris fell out of them. I shook and beat his shoes together for almost a minute before I could no longer hear the tinkling sounds of the sand hitting the garbage bag. After his shoes were cleaned out, I placed them on the shoe rack so they would be ready for the next school day’s adventures and recesses, which would be sure to fill them up once again.

Later on in the day, I got ready to go for a run. The weather was cool and inviting as I slipped on my running shoes. I had gotten a few steps out of the door when I felt a bothersome prickling on the bottom of my foot. I walked a few more steps, each time feeling that annoying poke to my foot. Knowing I could not run a mile or two with that pain in each step, I sat down to find out what was causing me the trouble. I reached into my shoe to find a small pebble. It is amazing how something so small can be so annoying and add pain to each step taken. With my shoes re-laced and my feet once again happy for a rock-free atmosphere, I set off on my run.

As I ran, I thought about my dumping, shaking and beating all those rocks out of my son’s shoes earlier in the day. He had played for hours in shoes filled with rocks and sand and it hadn’t bothered him enough to even shake them out himself. I had gotten one small rock in my shoe and didn’t want to go on until the sediment was returned to Mother Earth. I thought about how something that had completely stopped me in my tracks hadn’t, even in greater proportions, slowed my son down. I realized that each of us face our own rocks in our daily lives. Some are given one and others are given many.

Sometimes the trials and tribulations that we go through in life, while to some will not even slow them down, others may get one in their lives that seems to completely stop them in their path until the trial is passed. Sometimes it is another person who helps us remove our personal rocks and we are free to return to our life path, sometimes unknowingly of the help rendered. Sometimes, they are bigger rocks and other times, fragments of sand. But I don’t believe we are ever given bigger or more rocks than we can handle at that time in our life. We are each unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses, so don’t compare your trials in size or amount with others’. Work hard on your own rocks each day and help others with theirs. Mountains are moved one rock at a time.