Reader Writes

Casting stones

I hope my title caught your attention. There are many lessons we can derive from the Biblical story of Jesus sparing the woman from being stoned and forgiving her. Points from it are often referenced and applied to situations, even by folks who only know the one line “cast ye the first stone.” However, that’s not the context of stone throwing that’s been on my heart.

Remember when we were younger, perhaps went fishing with a parent, siblings, cousins, or friends, then we became the adults who took the crowd? It wasn’t only about catching fish; it was about fun and about talks. Just when you thought you had one nibbling at your worm and you were watching intensely for your catch to take the bait, only to realize the others had conspired for one to sneak up from behind and push you in. Laughs. Lots of laughs and love and making memories.

We used our imaginations and I can remember my older brothers making our own wooden raft. “Tailgating” back then was actually sitting on the tailgate of the truck and in the truckbed parked there by our fishin’ hole, opening the sack of sandwiches we made at home, a bag of chips to pass around, a few quart jars of tea and a thermos of coffee to fill your own cup you had to reuse all day. And napkins? That was what your britches legs were for.

I am pretty sure that my fellow Blount Countians who have been around at least three decades, certainly older like me, have also enjoyed the simple pastime of skipping stones across the pond or river when fish weren’t biting. Here’s where the lesson of “casting stones” comes in. Oh, we were competitive rascals at everything, so we would see who could throw a stone just right – to only skim the top of the water, skimming on to touch it again and again. We were serious about winning the “most skips.” While we waited our turn we would be checking the banks and grounds for just the perfect stone we were sure would make us the champion of that…uh, fishing trip.

We made so many happy memories that we would talk and laugh all the way home and were already talking about the next time, the next bait, who would catch the biggest or the most, who’s going to help clean the fish, and “gonna warm up and throw better next time.” Chatter, chatter, while the adult driving us quietly listened and smiled. We didn’t realize then that we missed a deeper message from God those days.

It was in the ripples created on the water. And the other ripples that formed each time your toss hits the top of the water. I always felt such peace watching those ripples form and move. Where did they begin and spread? Did they start in the middle of the pond? They began close to the bank, closer to where we were standing, then the ripple effect moved outward across the water.

Don’t think me silly with something simplistic. The lesson is how kindness and peace works. Don’t say you’re against wars when we’re fighting so much amongst ourselves. The saying “give peace a chance” needs an addendum that says “and let it begin with me.” When we extend kindness to others, do an act of kindness (without telling about it or getting someone to take your picture to post on Facebook), and do our best to be understanding, patient, withhold anger, extend our hand, and walk in peace with others – which includes those we may dislike – that’s our metaphorical stone to cast. They will start a ripple effect with you and then see how far across life’s sea you can create a positive change. If you ever get in the mood to cast stones in the other sense, just go fishin’.

Darline B. Kandalec
Rainbow Crossing