stacking up stones


    One of my favorite stories in the Bible is Joshua telling the people to stack up twelve stones from the Jordan River for an altar after they had crossed through the river on dry ground.

    And then he told the People of Israel, “In the days to come, when your children ask, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.'” (The Message)

    What speaks most to that story is the idea of marking a place to come back to as a way of remembering, as the old adage goes, who we are and whose we are. Bob Bennett sang about what I’m talking about in a great song called “Altar in the Field”:

    I’ll build an altar in the field
    Where I’ll remember

    Understanding stacks of stones mean different things to different people as they find them along the way, I want to stack up a few of my own. Today marks my 401st post since I began my blog on December 27, 2005. I started writing about “food, faith, family, and friends” as a way to help me learn how to live with my depression and to connect beyond myself, both of which are inextricably tied together in my life. Stacking up the stones right now helps me because my depression is a rising tide these days.

    For many years I’ve said I wanted to be a writer. Until I started writing this blog, I had a hard time feeling like one. Stacking up the posts like stones helps me remember I am a writer. It’s an altar to which I plan to return again and again.


    P. S. — There’s a new recipe.


    1. What qualifies a person to be ‘a writer’? Is it just because you write?

      Well, you do that.

      I think the larger, more pertinent issue is that what you write matters. When your words make a difference, often on a daily basis, in the lives of people who read those words, you are a writer. Not just a writer, but a writer who MATTERS.

      Whether you write to stave off depression or to impact others, it matters. I’m so glad you do so…each of those 401 posts has been potent.

      Congrats, and make a big ol’ pile of stones. Make sure you don’t forget. You. Are. A. Writer.

    2. Milton,
      We’ve never met, but I know you through your writing. We’ve never had a conversation, but you have influenced my life and uplifted my spirit by your writing. Thanks for sharing.

    3. The church camp at which I once worked (and to which I’m taking campers next Saturday) invited campers to bring rocks to camp one summer to build an altar at one of their worship sites. Twenty years later, some people can still pick out their rocks. What we bring and leave as our contribution is important, and I’ve come to value yours, Milton. Thanks.

    4. I’m going to echo what Ron… your writing has a tremendous (uplifting!) influence on this middle aged woman in San Francisco. I only come to your blog when I am quieted and ready to think deeply, because I know I can depend on you for something thought provoking.


      This particular post brings to mind a favorite song… I bet you know it:

      It is Love who makes the mortar
      And it’s love who stacked these stones
      And it’s love who made the stage here
      Although it looks like we’re alone
      In this scene set in shadows
      Like the night is here to stay
      There is evil cast around us
      But it’s love that wrote the play…
      For in this darkness love can show the way
      (David Wilcox ~ Show The Way)

      peace be with you, Writer.

    5. Milt – I’m glad you write. I’m glad you are in this space as a writer. As I read, I come to stack my own stones, remembering that depression is a part of me, but not all of me.

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