By: Will Barrett
We all have lights in our lives; the ones that either guide us, shed light on the things that matter, and make us feel good about how our lives are going right now. We even have “apples of our eyes,” someone that we cherish and admire, be it a loved one or a crush. Originally an idiom for “pupil of my eye,” its true origins come from Old English days, where it started out as the “aperture at the centre of the human eye.” Not quite as romantic when saying it to your significant other, and chances today are she’s not going to know what the heck you’re saying.
Then we have our rocks. We all have one – be it a trustworthy someone you can always depend on regardless of what happens. I’m sure you can tell me who your rock is right now. Your mom, a sibling, a child maybe, even a best friend. I think the point of these rocks is to keep our feet planted on solid ground, remind us who we are and all we stand to lose. We also have rocks that we are forced to bear because of the bad choices that we make, also serving as reminders of what we lost from where we stood, and just how far we fell from grace.
Two men who understand this more than anybody you can name come from Greek mythology: Atlas and Sisyphus.
Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra, and was found guilty for trying to boost his own agenda through deceit and underhandedness. Zeus punished him by imprisoning him in Tartarus and forcing him to roll a boulder up a hill. Every time he neared the top, the boulder would fall back down to the bottom and he’d have to start all over again. He was mandated to do this for eternity.
Atlas, on the other hand, got the worst deal of them all. Being a Titan himself, he sided with the Titans in the war between the Olympians. After their defeat, instead of just sending him to Tartarus with the rest of the lot, Zeus tasked him to stand at the western area of the earth, and hold the heavens for eternity – to which he served as the celestial axis around which the heavens revolved. Being the Titan of endurance and strength doesn’t do you any favors when you’re literally carrying the weight of the heavens and earth on your shoulders.
While these are good examples, we must remember that they are still myths. As Christians, we have the greatest rock of all – THE Rock (sorry Dwayne Johnson). Consider 1 Peter 2:5, which says “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (ESV). Yes, the Rock is who we lean on spiritually, but don’t forget that God puts certain people in your life for a reason as well, perhaps to be your worldly rock.
I’m sure at times we feel like Atlas, bearing more weight than we can carry. Maybe we feel more like Sisyphus, tediously pushing a boulder up a mountain we know will fall back down again. The point is, rocks will either keep you grounded, or hold you down. The only difference to our examples here is that we have the choice to let go of the ones that hold us down. Having autism, I believe it’s crucial for me to have a rock, one that can keep both my feet on the ground. My rock doesn’t hold me down in that sense, and while she serves as my rock, I don’t call her “rock.” I call her “mom.”
Who is your rock? Give them a call. Tell them thank you for being there for them. And to the future apple of my eye, wherever she is now, to paraphrase Randy Newman, you’ve got a rock in me.