On Tuesday morning in the prayer space I picked up one of the pebbles that Alison brought in. Maybe I’m just a child at heart but I too, like Alison’s children, love picking up pebbles and often collect them when I’m walking along the beach! On Tuesday the pebble I picked up was smooth and cool and just fitted into the palm of my hand. It felt lovely.
Alison was talking about how pebbles are formed and reflecting on where they might have come from and what might have happened to them on the way. She explained that they could be “a powerful symbol”.
As I looked more carefully at the pebble I was cradling in my hand I noticed that the markings on it were in the shape of a cross. And, it was at that point, that my pebble started to speak to me. It spoke first of Jesus and how, as he hung on the cross, he was able to say “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing”.
It spoke of how, despite having been betrayed, wrongfully accused, mocked, tortured and nailed to a cross, Jesus was still able to forgive. His heart wasn’t hardened by anger, bitterness or resentment but he was filled with love and compassion. How amazing!
It then spoke to me of how I too can find forgiveness, no matter what I might have done, or thought, or said. I know that when I kneel at the foot of the cross I will not be met by condemnation or rejection but will be accepted, loved and forgiven. What a blessing that is.
I looked again at my pebble and ran my thumb over the cross and this time noticed that the cross shape was actually a small crack on the surface of the pebble. And that began to speak to me again. This time it spoke about how my heart can become hardened by things that have been done or said to me. When I have been hurt or frightened I can build up layers of hard protection around myself. This can stop me reaching out to others and can prevent others from getting close to me. When I feel that I have been wronged I can become angry, resentful and bitter and all these emotions can make me hard and cold. If only I can lay the cross over my hardened heart and choose to begin to forgive, then gradually healing cracks will begin to appear and the warmth of love and grace will be able to seep in and begin to melt and soften the core of my being.
After all this I decided that I didn’t want to drop my pebble into the bucket of water! Instead I picked up another pebble and dropped that in as a symbol of forgiving and letting go.
I have brought my pebble home with me and will keep it on my kitchen windowsill so that whenever I am washing-up my pebble will remind me of all that it taught me about forgiveness.
Whoever said that pebbles can’t speak!