Friday, April 9, 2010

A Pile of Rocks

One day in the United Arab Emirates, my colleague Sally picked me up (since we carpooled to work at the college where we taught). Sally's husband is Palestinian. As she filled me in on her weekend, this story about her nephew, Mohamed, cropped up. He had recently moved to Abu Dhabi.We had a little laugh over his seemingly silly behavior, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how similar we are all to young Mohamed. We are shaped by our environment and what happens to us...


A Pile of Rocks

“Do not repay
anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12: 17-18 (NIV).

Six-year-old Mohamed peeked around the corner. Seeing no one, he inched the garage door open and slipped inside. He tiptoed to the corner and unrolled his T-shirt from his thin belly and let the stones tumble onto the pile he’d started a few days earlier. “God willing, I’ll be ready,” he whispered.

He watched his ama drive into the garage. As she slammed the door shut on the SUV, she stepped close to his stockpile. Mohamed gasped, hoping she wouldn’t see his stash. “I have to be very careful,” he warned himself, “our safety depends on it.”

Mami, what is our cousin Mohamed doing?” Fatima asked one day, “Look at that pile of rocks. It's getting bigger!”

Ama Sally stared at the mound. Finally, she said, “Fatima, remember Mohamed just came from Palestine and that’s a scary place to live. Maybe he’s still feeling afraid here in the UAE.”

“But Mami, that’s silly! There’s no danger here.”

“That’s right, honey. Baba moved us out of harm’s way. But it’ll take time for Mohamed to understand that he’s safe.”

“Yeah, and he doesn’t need to throw any more rocks.” Fatima agreed, nodding solemnly.

Mohamed’s fears reminded me how easy it is to respond by wanting to throw rocks at others when we feel threatened. Some days I hold tightly to each wrong done to me and I gather my rocks and take aim.

“That’s for my supervisor who doesn’t appreciate my hard work!” “That’s for the driver who cut me off!” “No way I’m going to let that guy walk all over me! Watch out!”

I hug these weapons of destruction tightly to my chest. When will I learn to let go? If I’m always clutching onto them, how can I free my hand to reach out to others and stop the cycle?

Lord, please help me disband my pile of rocks. Exchange my rocks for one sturdy rock — You! Become my strength and help me to overlook hurts and rest safely in Your promises.

No comments:

Post a Comment