In some Jewish traditions (especially among ashkenazik Jews), when someone dies, friends and family often leave a small stone on the grave.  

Some say stones are left because … they are a sign that someone has visited the grave, show that they have been there, and that the individual’s memory continues to live on in and through them … stones don’t die (unlike flowers left on a grave) and can symbolize the permanence of memory and legacy … are in keeping with an ancient tradition of stone mounds marking graves to preserve the location.
While I am not Jewish, I like to leave a stone on graves for those reasons and for one other reason. I find graves to be holy places.

The Hebrew word for holy is “qodesh” meaning “sacred”
… something that is considered worthy of spiritual respect.

When something touches my heart to the core of my being; when I find tears close or flowing at a level I cannot explain; when my soul soars at a joy, deep within, I know that I have experienced something holy, something sacred.

While I find the holy at grave sites, I often find the holy in other places and experiences, too.

As I watch media reports and images of women, men, children, youth of all ages, abilities religions, ethnicities, languages, races etc., … city after city … country after country … continent after continent peacefully processing, peacefully protesting, peacefully walking hour after hour … with babes in arms … with toddlers in strollers … with handmade signs waving, I know I am witnessing a holy event. And for that, I am grateful.

And so I end this blog with a simple “o” … the shape of a stone
… in humble gratitude for all who march for human rights.



© june maffin



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