Thursday, December 26, 2013


In which I learn that it's a mistake to take oneself too seriously.

I had this all planned. I was going to go to Mass on Christmas Eve and make an act of renunciation, and then on Christmas morning, I was going to throw a stone in the river as a symbolic act to seal this renunciation.  So, I did go to Mass, but I don't really remember much about it except that I kept getting sicker and sicker by the minute. I don't even remember if I even prayed about this thing I'm renouncing.

Then, when Christmas morning came, I would not have been able to propel a stone into a body of water to save my life, even if it meant dropping a piece of pea gravel into the toilet. So, I sat in the corner while Christmas went on around me and waited. 

This afternoon I was feeling a bit better and it was warm enough to go outside, so I figured the time was right. I went outside and found a stone I liked, and even brought it inside to take a picture. Here it is.

And off I went to throw it in the river.

As I was driving down the highway that crosses over the Coldwater River to the place where I planned to throw the stone in, I noticed something troubling. The river wasn't there. The bed of the river was there revealed in all its glory, and there was one deep channel where people were fishing, but it was narrow, and just wasn't what I was looking for, and besides, I was afraid I'd hit one of the fishermen. So, I drove on to the site I had chosen, but no luck--barely any water. I was stymied for the moment.

Finally, I decided to go down the highway to place where we liked to walk before the highway was actually open. I have some pictures of it someplace on the blog, but the search engine doesn't seem to be working. This is the way it looked a few months ago.

Strangely enough with the river so low, the water here is deeper now, and all the flowers are gone, so I decided this would have to do. I stood near the top of the bank in a place you can't see in the picture and threw the stone as hard as I could. I heard a soft thud. I don't know where the stone went, but it didn't even reach the water. I climbed back up a bit, selected another stone. Walked down. Threw it. Thwack! It hit that plastic barrier you see there. Another try. Still no luck. By this time I had remembered a few things about myself: 1) I've never had any strength in my arms, 2) I'm missing one of the bones in my right elbow, and 3) I throw like a girl. I was also conscious of the people driving by wondering what the heck that crazy woman was doing. I was really afraid somebody would stop.

For the fourth try, I moved closer to the barrier. It's pretty soft down there, so I was worried about going too far down. I managed to get the stone in the water, but just barely. So, up I went again to get another stone. By this time I didn't care if the stone was round or square, beautiful or ugly, I was just trying to figure out whether a big or small stone would work best. Then I bent over and saw a white, heart-shaped stone. It wasn't a "use your imagination and close one eye and hold it in just the right way and you can see it's shaped like a heart" heart-shaped stone. Anybody would have recognized it as heart-shaped. So, I picked it up and walked all the way down to the barrier and flung it in. I have to admit that it didn't go a great distance, but it did go far enough, and it was the best I could do.

On the way to river, I had had this sort of tragic, romantic image of myself standing by the river and gracefully slinging this stone way out into the water--a saint, really--sort of like Joan of Arc walking up to the stake to be consumed in flames for the love of God. By the time I finally managed to do the deed, I was laughing at myself so hard that I couldn't even dredge up a little bit of self pity. The more I think about this entire experience, the more I see that it's an even better metaphor for what has been going on in my life than I thought. But that's a story for another day--and you won't see it here.



  1. Or; "What Happens When You Have to Renounce Your Act of Renunciation."

    I am glad you're feeling better!

    1. Well, I'm sticking with it, but now I have to try to renounce self-pity, which is real stinker. I'm actually feeling pretty good at the moment. Thanks.


  2. This was too funny, Janet. Our Lord has a sense of humour.

  3. He really does--and I'm almost resigned to the fact that I'm always the butt of His jokes--but then, who else could be?


  4. I do think it's kind of neat that that cross-shaped shadow is in the foreground of the picture.