This I Believe

Denna - Pingree, Idaho
Entered on April 14, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family, love

It’s what’s inside that counts

As I rummaged through the closet I saw a rock that called out to me, use me, I have a story to tell. As I clutched it in my hand, my mind was flooded with the images of my father and me as we hunted for special rocks.

“Good morning merry sunshine,” my father’s beautiful baritone voice sang out as he flashed the light on and off. He knew I was not a morning person and that he needed to keep his distance until I was fully awake, thus the flashing lights.

“We need to get going or it will be too hot and we won’t find that special stone we are looking for,” he said.

My eyes popped open and I climbed out of bed, got dressed and was out the door faster than you can say pickled beets.

The sun was beginning to peek over the mountain to welcome us. I was excited. I just knew this was going to be my lucky day. I was right, but I didn’t realize until years later it was the building of memories that would carry me through the storms of life.

When the treasure was found and I took it to him, he gently squeezed my shoulder and with a twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes he said, “This is a very special rock. It is one with hidden beauty. See how the surface is weathered and worn by outside elements?”

“Yes, I see that, I said, I almost passed it by until I saw the inside.”

A smile came to his lips and he nodded knowingly. “It’s very important to always look for what’s inside isn’t it?”

I see now that dad wasn’t just trying to teach me about solid minerals and the beauty and wonders of nature but about life and his love for me.

He was diagnosed with tongue cancer when he was 50 years old. The doctors were mystified, since he had never smoked or chewed tobacco, yet the facts remained and it was his burden to bear. He put up a valiant battle for two years as his once strong body and handsome face changed from the forces that were battling against him. His face became swollen and unrecognizable from the effects of being over radiated. Yet, like the rock, the beauty was within and remained the same.

Others may look at this item and see nothing but junk, but I see the rock solid love of a father who took the time to teach me as we hiked together in the majestic mountains. He taught me to look at the beauty inside when the outside is uninviting.

This treasure is a symbol of his love for me, though weathered and worn from forces without, it is untouched and pure within.