Friday, February 6, 2009
Stones Part 2
The symbolism of stones can cross the boundaries of different cultures and help the pure in heart to discover valuable spiritual lessons.
Naomi Remen is a Jewish medical doctor who has spent many years helping to treat cancer patients of all ages. She is a brilliant and compassionate woman who is gifted with a deeply perceptive nature. This is also reflected in the books she has authored.
Dr. Remen was given a Book of Mormon by a Latter-Day Saint. In her book, My Grandfather's Blessings, she writes about an insight she gained from the book of Ether. I love the way she unfolds a deeper level of understanding in our precious Book of Mormon. It's wonders never cease to amaze me. Dr. Remen writes:
In the Book of Mormon, there is another version of the Exodus story. In it, the Jaredites, forced from their homes by conditions that stifle their freedom, set out across the great uncharted waters to reach the land of promise in boats sealed up tightly against the sea. The brother of Jared speaks to God about the difficulty in steering these boats in total darkness. He is told that if he brings stones with him, God will touch them and they will shine forth light.
The voyage is long and difficult in the extreme; there are mighty storms, and the boats are plunged deep beneath the water over and over again. But, their seal holds, and the stones, touched by God, continue to shine. According to Jung, the stone is is one of the two archetypal symbols for the soul. This image of a people sailing through heavy seas in search of freedom, steering only by the light that the touch of God kindles in their souls, is a particularly beautiful one for me.
In the course of any lifetime there are times when one has to sail into the unknown without map or compass. These can be times of despair and terror; they can also be times of discovery. Having accompanied many people as they deal with the unknown, I find the most moving part of the Mormon exodus story is a single line. Despite the challenges and great difficulties of this sea journey "the wind always blows in the direction of the promised land." I have seen many people spread their sails and catch this wind.
There is a grace in life that can be trusted. In our struggle toward freedom we are neither abandoned nor alone.