It's a little grey stone, picked up at Pine Point years ago by my friend, Caro, one of a huge basket of stones that once lay on a table surrounded by Sunday School teachers, all preparing for that other purple season, Advent. Caro provided a list of words from the Isaiah readings for that year, and fine point Sharpies, and we chose the stones that spoke to us and inscribed them with the words.
I loved the purple Sharpie, the dark blue purple written on stones of white and tan but mostly grey, both light and dark.
I don't remember what year it was, but the purple is fading into the darker stones now, and I can read them only because I remember "holy" and "glory" and "faithfulness."
On Saturday mornings, I'm leading a group for women, and we're using the stones (except the ones that felt too tied to Christmas), picking one up at the end of the session and using the word for contemplation until we meet again.
This week my word is "wonderful." It's a word with many shades of meaning for me. You can have a wonderful time or sing about the Wonderful Counselor or remember what wonder is and how things and places and times can be filled with it.
Wonder-full is a Sunday afternoon with the sun shining and people gathered to hear music, but also to give fuel assistance money and donate food for people in need in the town where I work.
Wonder-full in another way is the realization that even in an affluent suburb, there are people in need, people for whom it's not much help that the winter was less severe or the oil prices lower, because without any money you still can't buy heating oil.
Can it really be happening where we are?
It's happening everywhere.
Wonder-full is hearing there's something wrong with your dog, something potentially life-threatening, then getting a speedy appointment with the expert who says, yes, there's something wrong, but it's not the worst-case scenario, and you can calm down now, thank you very much.
Wonder-full is seeing the dog with the light in his eyes that seemed to be missing over the weekend, the lack of light that sent you to the vet in the first place.
Wonder-full is the wondering about whether you missed out on something untoward he ate, and maybe that's why he looked miserable all weekend?
Wonder-full is the community of friends both close by and far away who pray for you when you can't do much more yourself than say, "Help! Help? Please?"
I know the shapes of some of those stones well enough to know what words are on them, and honestly, when they're lying on the table you can read them, some of them, but this time the words lay upside down, wonderfully.