“Sometimes in life there just aren’t enough rocks” – Forrest Gump

forrest and jennyThose were Forrest’s words of wisdom upon reflection of Jenny’s rage of anger at her past as they stumbled upon the old house were Jenny was raised. Jenny unloaded every stone in sight on the structure, busting out a window in the process before slumping down in exhaustion to sob, maybe on that day once and for all relieved. Jenny’s childhood, from the glimpse that we saw in the movie, wasn’t all that wonderful. I’m guessing that her youth had a residual impact on her life, her pattern of running away from reality and years of reluctance to take the next positive step in the direction of God’s destiny and will for her life… a wonderful, albeit short, love that she would recognize and share with Forrest and their young offspring, little gumpster.

Last weekend we went to St. Augustine and my sweetheart sang with her chorale group in the Cathedral Basilica. It was a special experience, hearing them sing at this amazing venue filled with history. Before the concert I had a few minutes and wandered around outside. I came across a monument in a courtyard that I hadn’t noticed before, a vestige to Andrew Young and a group of civil rights demonstrators that were brutally attacked in response to a peaceful march. As we know well, St. Augustine is a city shrouded in history. It’s a fun place to go exploring, there always seems to be something new to discover in this old place – it’s filled with life lessons and legends.

As Jenny and Forrest would both tell you, if they were real people, the past isn’t always filled with the best of the best. We all have experiences good and bad that form our memories. We learn valuable lessons from both… and it’s how we use them that is omnipotent.

What to do with all of those rocks?

Well, the oppressors in St. Augustine wielded clubs instead of rocks. Just the same, when they laid them down in recognition that a new era was upon us, their symbolism was much the same as those who were throwing stones. Jenny stopped throwing rocks on that day when she remembered her childhood home and came face to face with its shattered memories. In the Bible, we’ve read about those who stood ready to keep on throwing stones… and how Jesus persuaded them to reconsider.

The Bible is filled with both symbolism and history. The book of Ecclesiastes is a philosophical search for the meaning of life, and how it is all meaningless without God. This literary gem is often attributed to King Solomon, the man who had everything. His struggle in Ecclesiastes is with mortality, but we can apply the same important lesson to just about anything. Struggles within ourselves or those we see in the form of public demonstrations are much the same. There is something that makes us want to throw the stone, and until we reckon with the root of the problem we’re destined to repeat history. Unfortunately, it’s often not so much who throws the first stone as the last. Solomon’s writing offers just one answer…

What to do with all of those rocks…

Rock cairn, or monument (photo by planetc1 on Flickr)

Rock cairn, or monument
(photo by planetc1 on Flickr)

Well, you may be upset with me for the simplicity of this message but I hope that it will at least provoke some thought, and not make you want to throw rocks at me. It’s basically the same message as “bury the hatchet” – go, and construct a monument. When we take the stone and build a monument with them we can start to let go. Healing takes place, and we can soldier on.

What to do with all of those rocks?

Turn it over to God. But that isn’t as satisfying as hurling rocks in a rage? Do it anyway. It may take a very long time for God to heal that hurt within you, but give it to Him and He will work a miracle every time… and in His perfect time and way. Some of the monuments that you build with your rocks in life will be larger than others. You may build some of them for a long period of time… but every time you do it you will see God’s promises in the end result.

Remember, the sturdy house was built upon a rock. You’re never going to change the past, but you can build a better life by firming up its foundation. Let God give you a hand, you will be thankful.