The Crash Heard Around the …


When I was a kid, one of my best friends in the whole world was Sam Carper. He lived down the road from us about 1/8 of a mile. (Actually, my parents sold his parents our old house when we moved up the street). We met in pre-school, and were friends for our entire lives growing up.

I remember once when we having a camp out in my backyard, we got rather bored around 2 am. (What do you mean “Why weren’t you asleep?” We were 12 years old!) So we headed down the road. Now you have to understand, our neighborhood was built on the side of a hill, so there was an “upper road” with houses on both sides, and a “lower road” with houses on both sides. Sam and I lived on the upper road, but the Angel girls (two lovely girls with the last name “Angel”) lived on the lower road.

Sam had a crush on Stephanie, who was a year older than us. So we had the bright idea to go through pebbles on her window to see if she would come outside. We didn’t really know what we would do if she did, but we’d cross that bridge when we got to it. (12 years old, remember?) So, we went and sat on the hill over looking her house, and began throwing pebbles at her window. Unfortunately for our weak throwing arms, it was too far to get the pebbles anywhere near her house, let alone to lightly strike her window. So we moved to a little larger rocks, and thought maybe we could land them on her roof over her bedroom. We made it across the road and into her yard this time, but still nowhere close.

I was getting bored of it all, since I didn’t have a thing for either of the sisters. I was ready to move on and go scare the begeebees out of one of our other friends. But Sam wouldn’t be turned away in his romantic pursuit. As a sat on the crest of the hill, I heard him digging through the Killen’s garden behind us, and then listened as his feet softly, but increasingly quickly, padded through the grass to my left. I looked over just in time to see Sam launch a rock the size of a basketball off of the hill towards their house.

“What are you DOING?!”

“I just want it to hit the road at the bottom and break. It will make enough noise to wake her up, and then I can talk to her”, was his reply. (We were 12, remember.)

Knowing deep within my DNA that we should be running away as fast as we could, I stood there transfixed in a stupor as everything went into slow motion, just like in a cheesy action movie from the 80’s. We watched the huge rock roll downward, towards the road in front of the Angel’s house. Then it began to catch air and bounce as it gained speed. And then… then it began moving downhill and towards the right. Straight towards Mr. Angel’s pickup truck parked in the ditch at the bottom of the hill.

“Ah nuts….”

One last bounce, and the rock was airborn off of the edge of the hill and over the ditch. With a horrendous crunch, it landed square in the truck bed, and broke into what seemed a hundred pieces. Needless to say, Sam’s plan, while altered, worked. Stephanie’s light came on, and the front door opened. But so did every other light in the house, and it wasn’t the lovely Stephanie or her sister who came through the door.

By the time this transpired, we were about half way back to my house, running with the legs of a 21 year old Olympic sprinter. We never actually saw Mr. Angel in the doorway, but we heard him yelling as he tried to figure out exactly what had happened.

We never said a word about it to anyone after that.

What got me thinking about this story is the way in which our actions lead to other actions in life, for both good and bad. I’m in a situation right now with two sets of people, and watching how their reactions ripple into my life, and my reactions ripple into theirs. It’s not unique by any means. It’s everyday life. But it’s simply easier to see in this scenario.

This is what God calls us to be. We are to be rock rollers. Only, we are to begin chains that work for good for others. We are to roll rocks of forgiveness, generosity, mercy, joy, hope, kindness, and laughter. Even great rocks like these will take their own course once we send them out. And they are destructive in all the right ways. They have the power to crash through pain, anger, hurt, confusion, loneliness, and despair. So, send the rocks flying. It’ll be the crash heard around the neighborhood.

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