I learned when I was about 10.
My Daddy taught me.
We taught those boys when they were even younger.
I remember now…the secret is in the stone.
The fun in the search and the importance of the perfect one was brought back to me last weekend.
We stood on the banks of the Red River. But this Red River looks not a bit like the one from home. That one is merely a large riverbed with a shrunken stream of muddy water flowing among sandbars.
This Red River, the origin of our Oklahoma branch, is pure and clear and icy cold. High in the mountains we watched it, and touched it, and flirted with it, and now I regret my bank-bound grown-upness.
Years ago, my sister and I would have plunged in without (much) hesitation. Reveling in the frigid rush as it took our breath away and made us giggle, and gasp, and shriek in delight. It would never have crossed our minds to just look at it from a distance.
Taylor made the first throw. It sailed parallel to the wet, then skimmed and hopped. A few more throws and he had Luke’s interest. He threw next and it skipped three times and became a game.
A competition of sorts.
Not against each other, for the camaraderie of brothers was too deep.
But a challenge between the rock and water.
They stood on the banks, my boys, my men, searching, weighing, rejecting and gathering. Would this be the one, that orb of ideal size and shape?
Some rocks were too big and heavy and misshapen, landing with a plop, eliciting a chuckle. But those perfect-smooth, round ones would sail and hop with ease.
The throw upstream against the rushing water would often make the little rock sail five feet in the air as it hit a current and jumped over to the opposite bank with pride. One hop, two, four, five, some hovered so close as they skimmed that we couldn’t keep up with the skips.
Laughter rang, delight unfurled.
From somewhere deep inside them, the little boy appeared. Falling away for a moment were the thoughts of bills to pay, jobs to perform, and troubles to resolve. It was just as I saw them in my mind, standing adjacent, laughing together, skipping rocks at ten and transformed now into young men. Men of courage and dedication to their God.
Next time I’m all in…my shoes and socks are gonna fly and I’m wading out, rock in hand and pockets full. He made nature for us to experience and immerse ourselves in. So why do I sit on the bank and just look, when I can feel more alive, calf-deep in the racing waters of freezing liquid joy.
Thank you Lord for reminding me even at home in Oklahoma to revel in the present and not be a bystander with my nose in my cell phone.
And for letting me know that even in troubled waters—and our path is full of them—you can give us the strength to soar in the air like the little rock–
Over turbulent waves as we navigate life.
Psalms 23:1-3The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
-What is weighing you down?
-Be still or be active yet aware. Let his creation give you the peace and joy he intended for us.
Remember the old farmer’s saying “There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”