What do we do with the rocks in our lives? What a tour though the New England countryside can teach us.
Take a drive through almost any small town in New England, and what will you see? Stone walls. Stone walls are one of New England’s great charms. Many of them are pretty old, when settlers began clearing and farming the land. In Connecticut where I live, they are all over the place, lining the roads, and even in the woods. In fact, in one town near me, the townspeople made the state move the wall when they widened the road so they could preserve the historical character of the scenic route.
What many people don’t think about is why these walls were constructed in the first place. Decorating the land wasn’t the settlers’ top priority. The walls were built from the rocks they unearthed as they cleared and tilled the land for farming. And there were TONS of rocks. I’m sure the farmers were not happy as they saw how much more work it was going to be to make the land usable. Some people merely piled the rocks up in one spot. Others decided to make use of the rocks and create boundaries. At the edge of their property. Or to segment it off so they could rotate the grazing area for their cows or sheep.
(c) Ann Thompson
They took a huge annoyance and inconvenience and turned it into something both practical and beautiful.
I did this in my own yard. Although my property had been a farm about 100 years ago, it had been fallow for at least 50 years. And during that time the cold winters, alternating with the hot summers, had brought more rocks close to the surface. Everywhere I dug my shovel hit a rock. I was able to construct about 30-50 feet of short wall out of the largess from the earth.
Close your eyes and imagine your life being a beautiful, pristine plot of land. You begin to cultivate it. You are enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Suddenly – CLUNK! Your shovel hits a rock. You begin to dig around the rock to get a feel for its size. You try to dig under it too. You can’t leave it there, and you’re having difficulty removing it. It is in the way.
What is that rock in your life right now? Perhaps there are several rocks of different sizes and weights. Name them. Feel their weight. How long have the rocks been there? Have you ever noticed them before? Perhaps you have tripped over them every day, muttering as you stubbed your toe. Yet you didn’t remove them from the soil.
How would you like to make a beautiful stone wall out of those rocks? How would you like to turn your difficulties, your stresses, or your not-so-beautiful parts into a work of art? You can. All you need are tools and time. Just like you need a shovel, spade, and wheelbarrow to dig out and transport rocks, you need tools like self-care, gratitude, and proper boundaries.
And just as it takes time to dig rocks out of the dirt and lever them into a wheelbarrow, it takes time to deal effectively with the rocks in our lives. We can’t expect to simply order the rocks out of the ground and into a fully-constructed wall. Yet we so often expect our emotions to simply fall in line without giving ourselves time to understand our difficulties, see a possible purpose, or explore alternatives.
A rock can be either a plague or a possibility. It’s your choice. Why not build a stone wall?
What are the rocks in your life right now? What thing of beauty can you make from them? Click here to leave a comment.