TITLE: How Come Rocks Can't Talk?
By Ennis Smith
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How Come Rocks Can't Talk?
So there I was. Another busy morning prompted me to rush out the side door with my computer
satchel slung across one shoulder, book bag across the other, lunch bag in one hand, keys in the free hand, and a fruit bar dangling between my teeth. It was 6:10 AM and I was already
stressed out over the day that lie ahead of me. As was customary, I performed my balance and
juggling act of carrying all this stuff while striding toward the Jeep to head off to the construction site, some 52 miles away. Given the horrid state of Metro Detroit traffic during morning commuter-hours, I can tell you, I was already going to be late.
As I continued my tense pace down the driveway, I glanced right and noticed a rock sitting on the concrete, in the middle of our walkway that leads up to the front porch. There’s nothing strange about finding a rock on the sidewalk. I mean after all, we do have children. But something compelled me to detour my stride, and
pick up this particular rock. I didn’t understand the meaning of this feeling, and I actually huffed at the idea of further adding ticks on the clock of my already tardy arrival at work, for the sake of removing a stone
from my sidewalk. But I did. Frustrated at what I was doing, I dropped all my stuff right there in the driveway and cut across the grass to pick up this stupid rock. The fruit bar dangling haplessly, fell from my lips and bounced off my work-boot as I cut through the grass.
“Great! I really wanted that, too” I spat, clearly peeved.
I scooped up the strawberry bar as I walked, never breaking stride. Stopping not more than two inches from the strangely smooth and rounded palm-sized pink stone, I studied it for a moment. Zeek, my 4 year old, probably found it last night and left it here. That kid has a tendency to drop whatever he’s holding wherever he happens to be standing last. I picked up the blasted rock with my free hand, and
sarcastically started speaking to it as I made my way toward the flower bed.
“So…thanks to you pinky, I have officially gone from kinda late, to definitely late. And…I
dropped my breakfast here, because you just HAD to be picked up, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I saw that. Shame too. I know how much you like strawberry fruit bars. So, you gonna eat the rest of that, or can I have it”, the stone replied.
In utter shock, I dropped that thing like a hot potato, and scurried back three steps. There was no way in the heavens I had just heard that rock speak to me, concerning my fruit bar. Clearly, I needed some
“Well that wasn’t very nice, E. I’ve been waiting in that spot for you, since before the birds were awake. We need to talk. Would you please pick me up? I promise I won’t bite your fingers off”, it said in a muffled voice, as if its mouth were full of grass.
I think my eyes widened to the point where I could feel my lids stretching, as I stared at this rock lying in the grass before me. I looked to my bags laying in the driveway behind me, for support. I just wanted to make sure I was still on earth, where talking rocks do not exist. Yep, they’re still on the concrete right where I left them. I can still see my footprints tracked through the dew damp lawn.
OK, so obviously I’m awake.
“O…K…maybe there’s a hallucinogen in the fruit bar, and I can sue the groccer for tainted
product”, I whispered logically.
“That’ll never hold up in a court of law, and you know it”, the rock said. “Look, would you stop acting squirrely? Get over here and pick me up. I promise, in the name of all that is holy, I will not hurt you”, the rock said.
“How do I know you’re telling the truth?! Five minutes ago, you weren’t able to speak, and now
you’re over here giving me instructions? What in GOD’s name? I’m talking to an inanimate
object”, I yelled at the rock. Clearly, I really needed some vacation time.
“OK look”, it started in a smooth, calming voice. “I’m not gonna yell, and I don’t want you to yell anymore, agreed? Let’s just be grown-ups about this unique situation. I need you to gently lean over, and pick me up. Don’t chuck me over the house, don’t toss me into the street, or the neighbor's yard, just hold on to me so that we might have a good man-to-rock discussion. Just hear me out for five minutes, and if it gets too weird, you can toss me when I’m done. Sound like a deal?”
I stood there with my mouth agape, actually considering what I had just been instructed to do.Before I knew what was going on, I sat myself down in the damp grass, crossed my legs and
picked up the palm sized stone to examine it closely. Something about it was calming.
“Thank you, E. Now let me…whoah, uh…OK…take it easy, I’m really rather delicate underneath
this solid exterior”, the thing began to enunciate.
First I shook it like a shaker. Nothing jangled from the inside. Next I twirled the rock 360 degrees, backward, forward, and side-to-side, looking for some kind of opening or secret door containing batteries. Nothing. I tossed it four feet straight up into the air, and caught it several times, trying to shake any
electronics free from its perfectly sealed frame. Zip.
“How in the world…”, I stared to say, but was quickly interrupted.
“Nope. Not of this world; above it. WAY above it”, it said to me.
I sat there studying this pink rock, while my mind tried desperately to figure things out. No
openings; no lights; no speaker; no battery compartment. What the heck? While I sat staring at it, I heard its voice resonate from its smooth surface, despite not having seen anything remotely resembling a mouth open and shut.
“E, I’m here to tell you that you’ve lost your focus, my friend. Long work days and short sleepless nights; barely enough energy to play with the kids and no quality time with your wife; no Bible study time and little time spent practicing piano for Sunday worship. You my friend are officially burned out. It’s time to take a break, preferably starting today.”
I really couldn’t argue with the rock, but I tried to anyway.
“I can’t just NOT go into work today. There are things that need to be done. If I don’t take care of them, then they won’t be done right. The job’s my responsibility, and if we wanna keep food on the table, I need to do my job” I said in a stern voice. “Church is always gonna be there and the kids understand why I’m never home”.
Stupid rock, Dispute those facts!
“Hmm…then I guess you don’t need GOD to guide you anymore then, do ya?”
My head slumped. My eyes lowered, as I was immediately humbled by this unassuming little
angel. I felt as if the wind had just been taken out of my sails. I guess I’d been going so hard at reality lately, that I'd failed to realize the many blessings bestowed upon me daily. That Jeep is on its last good ride, but somehow it continues to get me to and from work each day. As if reading my
thoughts, the rock conferred.
“That’s right. What else”, it asked.
I looked to its pink surface, for moral support, then cleared my throat.
“Well…we don’t make alot of money, and most times struggle to make ends meet. But somehow,
we get what we need, just when we need it”, I said in the form of a question.
“Good. What else”, the rock asked, as I held it closer to my face.
“The economy is really bad, and people around us are losing jobs and homes. Somehow, we’re
still working and have a good roof over our heads”, I said with a half smile on my face.
“Good job, Mr. Smith! What else ya got”, the rock asked vibrantly.
“The kids are in excellent health, and each of them is a straight “A” student. And, they’re becoming enthusiastic about church”, I said excitedly.
“Hallelujah!”, the rock spouted. “Come on! You got more. Hit me!”
“My family is the most important unit in my life. And the only reason for working hard, is to be able to provide for them; not to gain any type of promotion or recognition from my colleagues”, I said.
“Amen, Mr. Smith. I think you’ve just decided to take an off day”, the rock said.
“Yeah…a day at the beach with the family would really be nice”, I whispered.
As I looked up into the sky, I noticed what a lovely day, the cloudless sky was giving way too. I glanced down at that pink, palm-sized rock in my left hand, and I smiled. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
“You know, you’re pretty smart for a dumb rock. So do all rocks talk, or are you a one-of-a-kind”, I asked my little guardian angel.
“Pssh. Rocks can’t talk because they don’t have mouths! But we sure can listen. That’s what we
do all day, every day. We watch and listen to the ramblings, hustle and bustle of man. And we
sigh at you all. So many times, you fail to slow down and savor what’s really important in your lives. And before you know it, your lives are over; spent pursuing the wrong things and ignoring the gifts. Don’t be that guy, E. Remember to cherish the gifts, and every once in awhile…be the rock. Stand still and listen. You might be surprised at what you hear and learn”.
I smiled, a wide grin, at that little rock. Setting it gently on the front porch, marveling at this weird and miraculous experience, I turned to head toward my bags still lying on the concrete driveway.
“Uhh…about that fruit bar, E”, I heard over my left shoulder.
Four hours later, I found myself relaxing in a fold-out chair on the beach, holding my wife’s hand as we laughed and watched our children play in the waters of lake Eerie. Zeek sprinted out of the water, up to the blanket-covered ice cooler sitting on my right side, and noticed the pink rock sunbathing atop the cooler.
“Wow, cool Daddy! Where’d you find that rock”, he asked.
“Just lying around the front yard, this morning buddy”, I reply.
I looked at my wife smiling back at me, to my left.
“It’s a good day, isn’t it”, she asked with a smile.
“It’s a great day”, I said with a smile.
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