The most striking thing I’ve ever witnessed is simply, humanity. The communities on this earth make up a marbled swirl of crags and crimsons and clears, smeared together. The splendor we can unearth in one another is infinite; the only thing holding us back is human nature. Jealousy, greed and strength are vices many men have succumbed to. There is however, another kind of human nature. Innate goodness, understanding and not only accepting, but loving differences can also rule the decisions of humankind. It is a choice and I believe in the power we hold to make it correctly.
“Okay, everybody pick up a handful of rocks.” The pebbles clicked together in my palm as small ripples of icy water bathed my bare ankles. We collected rocks that we thought were shoe-in winners in the competition we anticipated. I could see my reflection in the stream, but I could only see my eyes. Eagerness stared back at me. Like waiting for a friend you haven’t seen in years. We hung on his every word; nobody knew the point of the game. Our eyes twinkled with the will to triumph.
“On the count of three, throw your rocks.” We were confused; we hadn’t yet compared our rocks. How would we know who won? We obediently rolled up our sleeves and on the count of three, we threw them. The rocks did not all land at the same time. Each rock went a different distance, they were different sizes, and we had different throwing strengths.
The moment began when the first rock hit the water’s surface. And time stopped as they sailed into the stream, like artificial rain. The twinkling in our eyes changed to understanding. The point wasn’t to have the best rocks. The point was to appreciate the effect of all different kinds of rocks being thrown at once; to find beauty in differences. If we were all the same, or the rocks we had chosen as our favorites were all the same, it wouldn’t have been anything special. But because I liked the tiny smooth pebbles, and the guy standing next to me liked one huge stone we could melt differences together to make something out of everyone’s nothings.
Once the rocks hit the water, some people began to walk away. But a few of us watched the ripples in the stream circling out like a growing target. And they were just as beautiful as the noise of the rocks itself. When the last circle splashed against my ankles, I turned to go back. Someone was whistling; someone was kicking rocks and sand. I slowed to the back of the group and picked up a smooth, perfectly round pebble. I also picked up a jagged one, with rough edges and no definite shape. I held onto both of them, knowing that from now on, the weight of those rocks would always be in my pocket.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.