Recently, I have started hand sanding rocks as a hobby. These are not ordinary rocks mind you, but Petoskey Stones direct from Lake Michigan. The Petoskey also has the distinction of being the state rock. These prehistoric fossil rocks were created long before dinosaurs roamed the earth and comprised of six-sided corallites. I love them.
The interesting thing about these rocks are that they are pretty ugly until given the care that they need. They often look like deeply pitted gray blobs while laying under the cold water but upon close inspection you can often just make out the outline of something more wonderful to come. My kids and I love scooping them out of the lake and lining our pockets, heavy with the weight of promise, as we make our way home.
Once home I begin the sanding process. Professionals use special tumblers as the rock can disintegrate if care is not taken. I just sand with ordinary sand paper. I start with 80 grit and move upwards until I reach a grit so fine it almost feels smooth as glass. Ever so slowly I sand away the imperfections of the rock, moving in a circular motion, like water carrying particles down the drain. As I remove layer upon layer the picture of what’s to come gets clearer and I can begin to see the exquisite beauty of each stone. Sometimes it takes days or weeks to get that kind of clarity.
Marriage is a little like those rocks. Marriages are held together with layers of our personal marital history melded with the fossils of our past. Often a long-lived marriage looks like it has come right out of the water…cold, wet, pockmarked and oftentimes so ugly and plain you think about just throwing it back. But then you remember that with a little patience, effort, time and care you will begin to see each small component of the whole looking shiny and bright. Finally, after much polishing and nurturing the beauty of your stone/marriage comes to life and you can see what all that hard work has brought you…something precious, lovely and beautiful to look at..a showpiece that the two of you have created from something that came before.
And all it took to see such beauty was a little elbow grease and a lot of faith that there was something better underneath.