Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blogiversary: Why Smooth Stones

Cade's and Clementine's hands: I love the unintentional, heart shape.
Today is my one-year blogiversary. When I hit publish on this post, it will be my 222nd published post (not counting the one I published and deleted). I've paid Blog2Print for 3 books at this point; they're 111, 125, and 143 pages long, respectively.

I reckon I had a lot to say.

I wrote about my reasons for blogging when I hit Post #200. I had planned to video myself, today, but I look particularly awful, and I'm not in the mood to do anything about it.

But I thought I might share with you my reasons for the blog title Smooth Stones.

During my years at Maryville College (Fall '92-Spring '96), I worked in the school library. One day, while working, I came across a book called Cries of the Spirit: a Celebration of Women's Spirituality, edited by Marilyn Sewell. (I own this book, today, and if I were required to give up all the books in my library except what I could carry, I assure you: this book would remain mine. I can't recommend it highly enough for any woman with a love for poetry and an interest in spiritual matters.)

Inside Cries of the Spirit is a poem by Alta with no name, only the number "7.3." It has a beautiful format that I can't seem to recapture here (I've tried!), but the words are as follows:

love is believable. keep that as a smooth stone, for sometimes you will be the only one to love. for sometimes, you will be hated, & all the love within reach will have to be your own, & what you can tap from the spirits who fly to be with us at those moments, & lend us their wings. who land on the lamps to give us comfort & courage, when we think we have nothing to say. when we have nothing to say, perhaps it is time to listen. to take dictation from the saints of the past, without judgement can one say that, “saints,” without judgement, can one love, can one seek out people who make one feel good. without judgement, can one survive, buying food. without judgement. casting our pearls.

love is free sometimes, & costly othertimes. we may only have each other. our true touch. we may only have. 

To this day, I think few words more beautiful have ever been written. I memorized this poem in the early or mid '90's, and I've carried it with me every day, like a smooth stone. In dark moments, I have repeated to myself, over and over: "love is believable. keep that as a smooth stone."

While at Maryville College, I could find nothing else (except for a couple other poems in the same book) by Alta in the library and nothing about her on the Internet. Since then, I've read more of her work and learned a few things about her, but--when I was a student at Maryville College--I had no tools of interpretation beyond my own imagination.

My initial interpretation (which remains my favorite) of the first line of Alta's "7:3" went like this: God is love (I John 4:16). If love is believable, so is God. And David the shepherd boy felled a nearly ten-foot-tall giant with a smooth stone (I Samuel 17). So a smooth stone is a weapon. My belief that love is believable...that God is a weapon I'm to keep. David's opponent was decked out in armor; David wore no armor but the "whole armor of God." But he carried his smooth stones.

I chose the blog title Smooth Stones because it reflects my heartfelt desire to write down things that matter for my children. I want them to have a record of my love for them. It's a believable love: something on which they can count. I didn't know--when I started blogging, exactly one year ago--that I'd write so much about being a child of the King, but I should've known, because so much of what much of what I want my children to understand...revolves around my profound love for Christ Jesus. He breathes meaning and beauty into my life. All my happiness...all my peace...stems from my relationship with Him.

And I know: if my children determine that God is believable, they will have the only Weapon they will ever need.

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