I had a talk with another pastor this morning.
They live in another part of the world.
But the work there is hard too.
The ground is dry and the work that they do just doesn't bring enough life
for it to continue growing.
She said she feels like a good part of her work these days is just removing the rocks from peoples lives.
Rocks that get in the way of living.
I told her maybe she's there to remove the rocks.
To break up the fallow ground, and help hardened people face their rocks.
She wasn't impressed with my encouragement.
Then I told her that out here the winter frost pushes up previously unseen rocks
so that you need to go out each spring, and move the rocks again.
She was surprised by that. She didn't know that happened.
She was even less encouraged.
Then I told her about my son who is built for removing rocks.
He is hired out and goes out to help pull rocks from the fields.
I told her that I don't think he always does it for the money, or because he likes hard work.
I think he sometimes does it because the farmer walks alongside him, and together they gather stones and put them in the tractor trailer.
And as they walk, they talk and enjoy the day and the company.
I think my son does it because he loves being with people and he can spend the day with another person.
Talking, thinking, picking up stones.
And if you would see him, you might say he loves picking rocks.
But he doesn't.
He loves being with people.
My pastor friend was quiet for a while, and then in a soft voice she said
I like that. I can do that.
There are things in her work that she loves doing, and she could reflect on those things on days when she was rock picking.
I could hear her smiling as she said, Now that is encouraging.