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Are you Throwing Stones or Building Altars?

lesliequintanar's picture

I'm not sure exactly how it happened but somewhere along the way, I have become a collector of stones.

Weird, I know. . .

Especially since I am not really a collector by nature; but as I've thought about it, I've incorporated them into many facets of my life over the years. It started with a stone that had "surfer girl" inscribed on it- a smooth, small white stone, given to me by my boss at the time when she was leaving her job to pursue other opportunities. I still keep in touch with her today and I've carried that small stone with me at every senior living job I've had since that time. I keep it tucked inside my desk drawer and look at it once in awhile and let it remind me of our friendship and the encouragement she gave me in my career. Changed Lives I remember the jar full of stones that I gave one of my nurses; river rocks with the name of each resident in our building to remind her never to forget the impact they would have one upon another. And a couple of years ago at the fall conference for the California Assisted Living Association, I did a presentation on resident engagement with one of my dear friends. We gave each participant a rock that had been painted silver with a small drawstring bag and asked them to write the name of a resident who had impacted them at some point in their career. There is also the worry stone that the psychologist gave me when I was leaving my first job as an administrator. He had been a trusted friend and colleague and enclosed it in an envelope with a lovely card wishing me well. I keep it on my desk and occasionally pick it up; it reminds me to fight to keep my balance in life and not worry about things I cannot control. Then I think about the the Old Testament and the travels of the children of Israel. Exiled to Egypt, then freed to wander in the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the promised land, at various times during their journey, particularly the really pivotal moments, they built an altar of stones. They built them to serve as a tangible reminder of their journey, Gods intercession on their behalf, and even their stubbornness in the midst of long desert march. They built it so that the next person coming along would know what had happened. They built it to remind themselves of Gods work in the desert and their deliverance from Egypt. They built it so they wouldn't forget. I think that is exactly the reason I chose to collect rocks, give them as gifts, and use them as interactive presentation tools. They serve as solid, unchanging reminder of the different seasons of my life and how I have grown and changed with each new endeavor and experience. How easy it would be to throw those stones away, but if I did I would lose the ability to cherish those moments in time that have impacted me in ways often hard to describe. I'd love to hear from you- what things do you do to ensure protection of those cherished memories and particular moments in time? Leslie


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