Gathering Stones

Today’s devotion is compliments of Leigh McLeroy (


We mark our losses and our victories with monuments...with markers that proclaim "Something significant happened here." It's human to want to tell our stories with tangible things; to show and not just say.
A few months ago I tried to watch a video "monument" of the relentless storm that disrupted then altered my home, my block, my city, and our collective lives. Four years later, I couldn't see the whole thing through. The memory was still too troubling, the wound too fresh.
Days after that I returned to my college campus and walked through the memorial of a tragedy that occurred there more than 20 years ago. Twelve silhouetted granite frames assembled in a ring--each representing one student's too-short life, are situated to face the geographic coordinates of his or her hometown. Their stories are remembered by words etched in stone, and by the small artifacts left there by those who still grieve their loss.
Every year on 9/11 mourners gather in lower Manhattan to recite the names of those whose lives were lost there two decades ago--2,996 of them in all--spoken near the deep, one-acre cataract of water and stone that memorializes them.
We don't just remember great losses, of course. There are monuments to military victories, to great men and women whose contributions have buoyed us, even monuments to ideas that have collectively inspired us. They're big. They're hard to miss.
But every day, you and I are gathering stones of remembrance. We're making memories. A right word spoken at the right time. A touch of blessing. A prayer offered up for someone we love. A prayer offered up for ourselves. A meal prepared. A strong embrace. A promise kept. An apology delivered. A song sung. A story shaped. An afternoon's labor, well done.
No one may ever see our monuments, but the stones are gathered just the same. "Something happened here," they testify. "Something that mattered, even for a moment."
One day my gathered stones will tell a story. Yours will, too. Let's make them beautiful, one stone at a time.

- Leigh McLeroy
There is a right time for everything...a time for scattering stones, a time for gathering stones. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5, TLB)

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