There is a small flower garden tucked behind the historic jail museum in the small coastal town of Southport, North Carolina. Within the garden, there is a pathway of engraved stones called Heritage Stones. These Heritage Stones honor individuals who had a significant impact on the development of Southport. Some commemorate the signers of the 1792 original charter. Others represent women and men of various professions: postmistress, pastor, principal, artist, historian, and civic leader. Each left their mark on this town.
One Heritage Stone names an event, not an individual, that left its indelible mark. An event that forever changed Southport and eastern North Carolina: Hurricane Hazel. When Hurricane Hazel arrived on October 15, 1954, she brought with her 120+ mph winds and a storm surge of 15 feet. Southport and surrounding areas would eventually recover but the landscape would never look the same.
In our lives, people and storms change our trajectory and our lives are never the same. We are headed one way; but then our direction is altered. When that happens, it is important to pause and remember. It is time to stack some stones. The Heritage Stones invite the residents and visitors of Southport to pause and remember. Remember the people who gave unselfishly. Remember the Storm. Do not forget. To help remind us, they placed stones.
Stacking stones as spiritual markers began in Genesis. In chapter 31, Jacob and his relatives stacked stones following their covenant with Laban. This monument of stones and this stone pillar that I have set up is a witness, a witness that I won’t cross this line to hurt you and you won’t cross this line to hurt me. Genesis 31: 51,52
Later in Joshua 4, the stone stacking continues. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. Joshua 4: 5-7
Stacking stones so those whom come after us will see and remember. Remember how the mighty God brought us through this situation. Do not forget. Stack stones.
If I were to stack stones representing my life-altering events, one stone would be for my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Cordell. He inspired and encouraged me to be a teacher. His love for his students and for teaching left a mark on my life. My life was changed because of Mr. Cordell.
I would need another stone for Bill and Ruth, my Sunday School teachers. They took time, tons of time, to share about love, life, and God. They walked their faith everyday. They changed my life.
Another stone would represent my junior year at college: 215 Seavers. My 5 roommates drew me closer to God and made me laugh daily. It was crazy fun. They changed my life.
One more stone would be for a country that feels like my second home, Tanzania. I love the people. I love who I am when I am there. I love the beautiful children. I feel closer to God. Tanzania has changed my life.
There are many more stones that have shaped, molded, and altered my life. When I pause to remember, I know I am very blessed.
What about you? What names are on your stones? Who are the people who helped mold you into you? Have you named your storms that altered your lifescape? Let’s pause to remember.
We need to stack some stones for those who come after us. They will see the stones, and they will know we were here. But more importantly, they will know God was here.
Stacking stones claims ordinary moments of life for God. And when someone comes along and asks you, “What do these stones mean?” tell them the story of what God has done. ~ Jayne Hugo Davis