SANDING STONES by Karyn B. Alexander


On a recent trip to Michigan, I had an awesome experience. We traveled all the way to the tip of a peninsula where a lone lighthouse stood. The day was chilly, like most Michigan days, but the sun shone enough to allow us to walk the beach. The beaches of Michigan are full of white sand, rocks, and more rocks. The beach was interesting because the sand stretched so far out from the shore, allowing us to walk a very long time before reaching water.  As we walked, I started to see little piles of rocks. I looked three feet from where I stood, then 10 feet, then 30 feet, and beyond. The rocks were everywhere. I looked again and knew the rock piles were intentional, not a random act of nature. This looked to be something meaningful, deep and important. I automatically look for meaning in everything, but here, I didn’t even have to try. It was laid out right before me.

I had been walking for some time before discovering the mysterious little monuments; the skyline had blue and white clouds formed into puffy swirls that resembled water more than sky. It made me think of the verse in the book of Genesis where God “separated the waters.” I felt as if I understood that verse better after seeing it in reality; water pressed against sky water, all the same.  Once I looked down, though, I was actually astonished to see what I had almost missed. It was so clever and meaningful. People from everywhere, hundreds of them, had placed the stones one on another as if to recreate a Stonehenge-like mystery.

The builders were no longer on the beach, so it certainly was a mystery to those of us just arriving. I looked around. Others had noticed the beautiful monuments, too. I immediately wanted to build my own. I started piling rocks, and then I stopped. I wanted it to be more than just a few simple stacked stones. I needed it to represent who I was and my legacy to the beach and its future visitors.

I carefully made several small piles, knowing what it meant to me, but leaving a question to hang for the next beach walker. I was so excited to leave a message for someone else to ponder or decipher.

Isn’t that truly what we all want?

When asked, the elderly say that the thing they regret the most was not leaving a mark for future generations.

In the book of Genesis, God also told His people to leave a mark. As Moses took them across the Red Sea, they were instructed to send 12 men back into the sea to bring out a stone for each tribe. They were to stack the stones, to leave a mark for the next generation. The mark was to show what God had done for them, which was freeing them from slavery.

My little stone pile was the same. I had taken wet rocks and stacked them in a manner to show what God had done for me. He had freed me, snatching me out of darkness. He had brought me to His knowledge and changed my life forever- pile one.  He allowed me to live and share His nature with my children and family who would, too, forever be changed- pile two.

I was grateful for that day on the beach, a reminder of how important it is to leave a legacy of great value. Standing Stones they call it. Reminders of the great things God has done for us. A surprise, an exciting monument, a mystery for sure!


Voice of the Nations column

Karyn Alexander
Executive Director,






Voice of the Nations column


One Comment to “SANDING STONES by Karyn B. Alexander”

  1. We saw something similar, although of a much smaller scale on a much smaller beach in Maine in 2009, right before my sister died. I didn’t take the time to build one, although now I wish I had. I’m glad you did.

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