Thursday, October 8, 2009

J's Rock

My daughter J got a rock one day; I found it as I was rummaging through a junk drawer looking for a 5/8ths drill bit. It was just there, for what reason I can't recall. An odd little oval shaped thing with no character to speak of. Kind of small, gray, and dull, to me any way. My little J was so excited she squealed. "Tee my wrock Papa?" She giggled to my dad.
He seemed quite impressed, as was my mom and nearly everyone else. I couldn't see why. I felt like a mean mom for wondering why everybody else understood but me. I didn't say anything to her, but I watched.
We went to the store to get some milk for breakfast. J took her rock along. She showed everyone. Some people smiled at her, others ignored her entirely, and a few stopped to see it and tell her how wonderful it was.
One woman told her it was "pretty" and I thought to myself, why tell her that? It's just an ugly rock. Another woman stopped and said, "Can I have the rock sweetie?"J looked very sad and stared at her rock, but she handed it to the woman. Thankfully, the woman didn't keep it, but gave it back after a few seconds."Teeteu!" J said happily, as she hugged it to her heart. "’tis is my wrock."She kept that rock in her fist or in her pocket all day, taking it out to cradle it and hug it.
I was amazed at her dedication to such a humble little thing. She scarcely has the patience to watch her favorite TV program, but the rock inspired total devotion in my child.
At night, J put the rock under the edge of her pillow to keep it safe. It fell off the bed and chipped off a tiny piece, lying there until she got up and found it the next day. She toted it around as she had the day before.After a while, she brought it to me. "Tee my rock Mama?" She smiled at me with that incredible little face, you know the kind, the melt your heart; turn your knees to butter, incredible throat constricting joy of your life face.
I took the rock, determined to see the beauty in it. I found the chipped place and was astonished to see a fire flecked pool of milky white shining from that ordinary pebble. It was an opal. My little girl had fallen in love with an ordinary, dirty, humble, little stone and it turned out to be a nearly flawless creamy opal.
As I handed it back to her, I had to wonder how many other ugly stones in my life were actually opals in disguise. I remember another rock I stuffed away in a drawer somewhere. Humble, serene, temperate, and compassionate. His name was Jesus and he was far more beautiful inside than an opal could ever be. I have much to rethink in my life. Thank you, J.

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