Browsing through the children’s section of my local bookstore one afternoon (what can I say? I love kids’ books!), I overheard two young women talking. They were probably in their mid-twenties. Attractive, healthy, wearing workout clothes, their vibrant beauty drew some attention, as did their (fairly loud) conversation.
Woman 1 was petite, with bright, dark eyes, expressive hands and silky blonde hair that she wore clipped back in a pony-tail. Woman 2 was tall and thin. She had a worried smile, angular cheekbones and a small mole on her left cheek.
Their conversation went something like this:
Woman 1: So I said to the stone: Stone, c’mon, turn off that game and give me milk. I need milk. I need cookies. Bret threw a tantrum in the supermarket today. Mindy threw up on my shoes. Don’t you care?
Woman 2: Yeah, you totally deserve milk. You do so much for everyone. You SO deserve milk. (Pause, followed by worried look). So, did he give it to you?
Woman 1: No. He just sat there like . . . like a stone! No milk! How hard could it be to give me milk, after all I’ve done for him? Running around after those kids all day . . . all I need is a little milk. That’s not so much to ask for, is it?
Woman 2: Awww, of course not!
They talked a while longer. They analyzed the stone from every angle.
It’s his mother’s fault — he’s passive-aggressive because she’s so controlling.
Stones are like that — they don’t think of anyone but themselves.
And then: Maybe I should get a babysitter and go to Pilates once in a while. Look at me, my belly still pooches out from when I had Bret. Can’t blame the stone — I’m such a pig.
And so on and so on . . . These two perfectly lovely, vibrant young women bewailing the stone’s hard-heartedness, its lack of generosity, its stubborn silence and failure to communicate. Blaming themselves for getting it wrong, for not being beautiful enough or worthy enough to charm milk from the stone.
Eventually, the women found the book they were looking for, and then they drifted off into the Self-Help aisle.
I drove home, sat in the sunshine on my deck and thought about their conversation. And began writing about it in this post.
Okay, so she didn’t really say the stone. Or milk.
She said Brian. And a bunch of other stuff that Brian wasn’t giving her that she needed and SO deserved. Except maybe she didn’t ’cause she hadn’t lost her baby-weight and her house was a mess and so maybe it wasn’t his fault.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Everyone knows a stone can’t give you milk. It’s not in its nature.
It doesn’t matter if you badger it, whine at it, try to seduce it or get down on your knees and pray to it — it still can’t give you what it doesn’t have.
If you keep banging your head against the stone to try and get it to give you milk, you’ll end up with a headache and bruises and not much else.
And yet, this is what we do each day. We look to the people in our lives — or to our work, or our hobbies, or our bank balances — to give us what we so desperately need.
A sense of who we are. Love. Connection. Appreciation. Security. Permission to be ourselves. Forgiveness for our shortcomings.
And when the Stones in our lives can’t give us what we want, we’re broken-hearted. Bewildered.
Meanwhile, the light of the Sacred lives in our hearts, silently offering us everything we need.
Love. Safety. Connection. Appreciation. Reminders of our wholeness and our radiance.
All we have to do is take our attention off of that stone, and turn around to receive what’s being given to us from the Source of all nourishment.
That glass of milk? It’s yours for the asking.