When a rock is thrown into water, ripples are expected, but none have had quite the impact my cousin and I experienced.
We came back from Greece in 2014 with a unique message for one of our friends whose daughter committed suicide at age 27 in 2011.
Janice Turber of Atlanta, Ga., and I decided to go on the trip even after Janice’s Souldrama workshop was canceled since the tickets were non-refundable. In our 50s, we had never traveled together. It was our last day in Tinos and we put on bathing suits to take one last walk on the beach. We had already collected rocks to take home and I performed a special ceremony for a dear friend, whose daughter had committed suicide after bouts with depression. I picked out a rock and wrote with a regular ink pen, “Love and Let go–Lori.” The message was meant for her mother – to still love her daughter, but also help her let go of the pain and hurt of losing Lori, while still living on in memories, pictures and thoughts. I wanted my friend to be able to move forward with her life and not be held hostage by her grief, to know that she had God and the support of those around her to help her heal and move forward. We took a photograph of the message and Janice snapped a picture of me throwing the eight-ounce rock 30 yards into the Aegean Sea.
Then we began looking for a rock among the many there to take back to mark the ceremony. I found one that looked like a mushroom, symbolizing something coming out of the dark and blossoming anew. We sat under an umbrella to dry off before heading back to the room. I took a short nap. We had a beverage on the porch to relax before showering for our last dinner in Greece. After dinner, we returned to the beach and I put my hand in the shallow water, not in the same place from which I had thrown the rock into the sea four hours earlier. Incredibly, cupped in my hand was the rock with my message. We shed tears. This could only be from God. God was telling me that Lori was OK and her mother would be OK. It meant to us that Lori had been in pain, but couldn’t be on this earth and she wanted her mother to be happy. It meant I had a message for her mother to let her daughter go. Lori’s mother (whose name is being withheld) said the rock I brought back made her feel like she and Lori still had a connection even if they were in different places. “It was hard to understand, but it was a good feeling,” she said. The waves that returned the rock washed away some lingering thoughts and feeling like rubble. Lori’s mother keeps it on a shelf to share the message with visitors.
Dr. David Jeremiah, a Christian preacher, on his radio show “Turning Point” recounted a story that Rabbi Harold Kushner tells about a man who attended a funeral of a co-worker his same age who died unexpectedly. They worked 50 feet apart, were not really friends, but had children the same age.
In two weeks, the co-worker was replaced and his widow was moving back with her parents. This man thought for the first time that it could have been he who died and he was losing sleep. “It’s like a rock falling into a pool of water and then the water is the same as it was before,” he said. “But the rock isn’t there anymore.” The man likened the rock story to perhaps never existing and being forgotten, that his life may not be being fully lived. Shouldn’t a man’s life be more than that, he asked. “If I look at life without God in the picture, it’s futile.” But Lori’s rock did return. Though she was young, her life had meaning and God was showing that to her mother who had found her daughter with a self-inflicted gunshot wound after she came home from work. Lori was the same age as my daughter and I related to the pain, similar to the man in the Jeremiah sermon. Lori probably asked the Lord to deliver some kind of message to her mother.
A mental health therapist, Janice said those who commit suicide may think everyone is better off without them. Obviously, that was not the case, but Janice felt this sign was the beginning for a grieving mother. Interestingly, the canceled workshop was one by Souldrama. Their workshops lead to spiritual transformation, aligning the ego with the soul so that rational, emotional and spiritual intelligences are in balance. With no workshop to attend, we ventured to services at Panagia Evangelistria Cathedral, where the steps are adorned with red carpet for those on pilgrimages who crawl on their knees to seek healing at the holy site.
We lit a candle. Father Don Calloway, in a May visit to Shreveport, told a story of a large holy rock where a church has now been built. It goes back to the 18th century.
On the border between Colombia and Ecuador is a venerated image of Our Lady of Las Lajas. María Mueses de Quiñones, a woman from a village in Colombia, had heard rumors that a cave in Las Lajas (the Rocks) was haunted. Maria was carrying her daughter, Rosa, a deaf mute, on her back. Maria sat on a rock to rest. The child got down to play. The next thing Maria knew, Rosa was at the cave shouting, “There is a woman in here with a boy in her arms!”
This was the first time Maria had ever heard her daughter speak. She didn’t see the figures the girl was talking about and ran. One day Rosa disappeared from home and went back to the cave. Her mother found her in front of a splendid woman, playing affectionately with a child who had come down from His mother’s arms to let the girl enjoy His divine tenderness. Maria fell to her knees before this beautiful spectacle; she had seen the Virgin and Jesus.
Frequently, Maria and Rosa went to the cave to place flowers. One day the young girl fell gravely ill and died. A distraught Maria decided to take her daughter’s body to Las Lajas to ask Our Lady to restore Rosa to life. That was when the marvelous picture of Our Lady on the wall of the grotto was discovered. Maria could not recall noticing it until then. But who put this magnificent image there? Doubters say someone snuck in a good artist. But geologists tested samples from spots in the image. There is no paint, dye, nor any other pigment on the surface of the rock. It doesn’t smear. The colors are of the rock itself. Even more incredible, the rock is perfectly colored to a depth of three feet. “The image is the rock. The rock is the image,” said Calloway. “Science has no explanation for this. You think God is trying to tell us something?”
Physicists were contacted for this story to determine the odds of the rock appearing hours later at a different location. Jeff Holcomb, instructional technologist for the Caddo Parish School Board, said his first thought would be to study the orbit of the earth and some kind of anomaly with the morphology of Tinos that makes an object move, maybe something with the tides or landslides where large land forms move.
Seth Dubois, Captain Shreve High School physics teacher, said he would have to know weather conditions and the behavior of the sea. “Real world physics is very messy and complicated. The number of variables working on the rock in that water is almost uncountable. So, it’s not likely we could calculate the odds of this happening due to a lack of information,” he said. “I’ll admit it’s pretty surprising, but certainly not impossible.” Low probability events happen all the time; we just don’t notice, he said. “That said, I’d be the last to wish to take away from another individual’s experiences that they found personally meaningful.”The women believe the reappearance was not science, but divine intervention ordained by God. It just gets back to a miracle.