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 and 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 against injustice … with babes in arms, toddlers in strollers, 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 shape of a stone
in humble gratitude for all who march for human rights.
© june maffin