Sins of the Rock
A few weeks ago, I took a walk along the creek near where I grew up. I wanted to visit the place I spent many hours as a kid in the late fifties and sixties. Since retirement, I occasionally take a step back in time to memories of my childhood. For me, those days along Fishing Creek were like being a character in one of Mark Twain’s stories. Each day of the summer the kids in my neighborhood discovered a new adventure along the slow moving creek.
Our swimming hole was equipped with a rope swing that hung in an old Sycamore tree. One of the kids would gather enough courage to climb the tree and tie a rope to a limb that extended out over the creek. Usually only one of the older kids, who was not afraid of heights was brave enough to make the climb. Once the rope was in place, we took turns swinging out as far as we could and dropped into the warm summer’s water. I still can remember how the sound of the world vanished as I splashed down and disappeared below the water’s surface. It was replaced by the sound of millions of bubbles in my ears as I held my breath. Then needing to refresh my lungs I would burst back into the world of air and the sound of the kids cheering and laughing returned.
The best part of our swimming hole was a rock on the far side of the creek. It was the perfect rock for a swimming hole. Mother Nature sculptured the surface of the rock so it had two levels. The first made it easier to climb out of the water. The second a high place to dive from. If not for that rock, I would have never learned to dive.
Sometimes we kids would play king of the rock, you know the kind of game kids play. The first kid would climb out of the water and proclaim themselves to be king or queen of the rock. We were an equal opportunity swimming hole, either a boy or girl could claim the title. Once up on the rock the king or queen would fend off all that tried to take their place on the rock. The good thing about being king or queen of the rock, we all got a chance to wear the make believe crown.
When I visited a short time ago, I looked above and tried to see where the large rock had broken off from the hill and rolled into the creek. It had ended up in a position that was perfectly place for us kids to play. It could not have been placed any better if engineers had designed it as a swimming rock. That was long before any of us kids were around to see it happen.
As I stood on the sandy shore looking for the rock from my childhood I realized it was gone from view. Then, I saw a dark shadow, I realized our rock had slipped below the surface with the passing of time. Over the last fifty years, floods, ice and time have slowly caused the rock to sink below the surface into the bottom mud. If I did not know where to look I might have missed it all together. But, what’s the difference, it was only a dumb old rock.
A rock is not of any importance. Why, just look around and you can see hundreds of rocks. In fact when you travel any road in West Virginia you will see signs warning, Watch for falling rocks. People place no importance on rocks, unless one lands on the road in front of them.
If you watched the evening news lately you have most likely seen images of ISIS followers in the Middle East destroying rocks that long ago men crafted into temples and buildings. With professional cameras they stage the explosions to show all the terrible details to the world. In another video they show men with sledge hammers destroying statues crafted three thousand years ago. If you are like me you have to wonder, why?
I realize in my life time I will never see those rocks that were fashioned into temples and statues in that part of the world. So what difference does it make if ISIS destroys them, after all they are just dumb old rocks? I believe it makes a great deal of difference. Humanity started in the Middle East. Whether you study a Bible or history of man, they both tell us man came from that region of the world. We’ll not get into the philosophical difference in the origin of man, but, man had his beginning in that region we today call, The Middle East. The rocks used to create these structures are therefore part of all our pasts.
Our ancestors, men and women that looked much as we do, built those great temples and statues from rocks dug from the earth. With their hands they fashioned them into beautiful works of art and building for study and worship. They used primitive tools by our standards to chip away tiny pieces of rock to find the columns of great temples hidden within. ISIS also destroyed rocks that depicted the faces of men who lived long ago. Those rocks had no sins, they’re simply rocks of the earth that man used to fashion those monuments. They choose to leave something of beauty and design for future generations. ISIS chooses to leave nothing but hate and broken rocks.
In a place where life seems to mean so little that death is something gruesome to be filmed and broadcast to the world, ISIS want us to believe they are the true followers of their beliefs. But, if their beliefs finds sin in man’s creation from simple rocks, I have to wonder what kind of world do they want us to be part of? A world where their followers awaken each day to hate anyone of different beliefs or cultures. A hate so deep it can only be feed by death and destruction, even if it is only a rock.
For thousands of years, those rocks have stood in silent testament to the skills and craftsmanship of mankind. Unfortunately in the blink of an eye, men have destroyed that vision of the past. I fail to understand the beliefs of men who want to destroy other men’s creations carved into the rocks of Mother Earth because they want to erase history.
My rock in the swimming hole was not destroyed. Mother Nature has reclaimed the rock back into the earth. It had no sin, it is only a rock. A rock that in my life time brought pleasure to kids of our neighborhood. I believe at one time the great temples and statues in the Middle East brought pleasure to the peoples of those regions. I understand my rock disappearing, I do not understand the rocks of mankind being destroy by men who claim the high ground in religion. Those men fail to look towards the future because they wish to destroy the past in the name of religion as they close their eyes to the good in man as they look Through the Lens.