It Was Only a Rock… They Were Only Beads

Forgiveness, a rock and a few beads, all related and impossible to separate. That word forgive which can also be used as forgiveness, forgiving, forgiven is one you can’t ignore yet it seems even harder to do what it is asking. The other “F” word that goes along with forgive is forget. You have to forgive and forget. So if you think you have forgiven something but you can’t seem to forget about it then what? Does that mean you haven’t really forgiven? Around you go with those two words trying to reach a satisfactory answer.

Forgive is a big word, a very important word, one you can’t just put aside and totally ignore. Somewhere in life, it will reappear and be in your face again. Those who believe in God are glad for that word. God sent His son Jesus to die on a cross for forgiveness from our sin. If we repent from wrongdoing, Jesus is able to forgive us. The word is scattered liberally all through the bible. We learn early in life that the God who created us is able and happy to forgive us of our transgressions.

We hear the word in life from all directions. You need to forgive the person who wrongs you; forgive the friend who blows up and says mean things; forgive the person who cuts in front of you in line; forgive the boss who gives the position to someone with less seniority; forgive your husband who tosses out something that meant a great deal to you.

After you forgive, then comes the forget. You can say, “I forgive you” and feel inside like you have but then you have to forget the words that were said, the wrong that was done. I have a couple of areas with my husband where I think that I have forgiven him and then suddenly the items in question come to mind and I miss them and then I find I am mad at him again for what he did. Maybe it was his attitude in the beginning, his lack of remorse or understanding for what he had done. The question always is, did I really forgive him?

I grew up in the desert of So California, USA. My dad was my best friend and he loved the outdoors, target shooting, exploring and rock hunting. He was what they called a rock hound. He had a couple of small mines up on Copper Mountain. One was a crystal mine that I had helped him with when I was eight. That was one of the proudest moments of my young life and something I still remember in detail.

He used a compass and some string. My job was to hold the string while he followed his compass to the right spot where he piled rocks. When all points were marked, we put a note in a glass jar and buried it under some rocks at the point where he had started to dig and discovered the crystals. That note stated his claim until he could drive 60 miles to the town of San Bernardino, go into the claims office and file and official claim. A copy of that claim would then go into the glass jar to replace the slip of paper with the hand written note.

My dad went with his rock hound friends to a place called Rainbow Canyon to hunt for banded agate. On the outside, the agate looked like a dirty, dark, crusty looking rock of no value. You had to have that special “eye” to see which of the rocks would be the beautiful banded agate. My dad had that eye and he picked many gorgeous stones.

One of my dad’s friends had a lapidary shop where he cut and polished all sorts of rocks into treasures that he sold to tourists on their way to the river. My dad took the agate rocks to his friend to have them cut just right to reveal the treasure within. I loved to watch as they used water and special saws and tools to cut slabs in different widths from the rocks. Some times they would cut the rock in half leaving the rough rock on the back side of the banded slab.

One in particular was large with beautiful banding and some small crystals in the center. What made it so special was it looked just like a map of the USA. The back tapered and was still the rough outer stone. When you set it for display the map was in the right position and it was something to see. We always displayed it on a shelf in our house and everyone noticed it.

It was one of the few legacies I had from my father that I was able to bring to Australia. I had his gun collection but I couldn’t bring them to a no guns allowed country. So I brought that banded agate stone plus two others he had found in his years of hunting. I packed them in the suitcase with the family photos and other scraps of memorabilia. I displayed the rocks on my bookcase where we lived on the coast.

In a few years, I took a job in the red center of Australia. I flew home during school breaks and then we decided to sell out and move everything to Alice Springs. To get ready for the move, I flew home, spent days marking everything that was to be packed and shipped and things that could be sold. In the garage was my bead collection, semi-precious stones, turquoise, banded agate and the like. Yes, I have followed in my dads footsteps as a rock hound. My hunting has been limited to mostly buying stones already cut on the internet from around the world.

When I opened all the boxes that were shipped my banded agate in the shape of a map was missing, along with one of the other rocks I’d carried with me for years. Also missing was my collection of beads. My husband had no idea where they were or what could have happened to them. His attitude was, “they were only rocks”. Other items from my bookcase were there so it was obvious something else had happened to the banded agate. I know a bead collector had bought some of my stuff that I had marked for sale and I’m sure he persuaded my husband to sell my semi-precious beads too but the agate… I will never know.

For the loss of those items, I can say “I forgive you” but I can’t seem to forget. The fact that he let them go with no consideration for me and what the banded agate meant to me as something from my dad, from my childhood. Even when I confronted him, he felt no remorse, which breaks other boundaries like trust and love.

I have been sick in bed for about three days and time like that lends itself to a lot of thinking and retrospect. I had been thinking about my family, nearly all gone now and my childhood and that banded agate floated into my memories. I looked at my bookcase in my bedroom where it should be and it isn’t. Once again, I felt angry with my husband for doing whatever he did with it. So what about forgiveness?

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