Mental Health Ministries

Addicted to Stones

Addicted to StonesWhen my daughter was studying for a year in England, I made a winter-time visit to see her. We were on a student budget and avoided most of the tourist attractions. Our preferred modes of transportation included the Underground, the train or the infamous Badger Bus Line. My one request was to see Stonehenge, that mysterious and ancient configuration of stone. It was not an easy trip in the dead of winter with washed-out train tracks and unpredictable bus schedules. But we managed to make it to Stonehenge, arriving quite late in the day.

To our delight, virtually no one was there. The area was free of "wannabee" Druids and street vendors. It was freezing cold, and the wind cut through our southern California layers of clothing. Braving the elements, we wrapped scarves tightly around our heads, and ventured through the tunnel and up the path to Stonehenge.

There we stood, in awe and silence, taking in the sight of these stones. What drew me to this place, I don't know. But since no one knows for certain what this strange circle of rough-hewn stones signifies, I sensed I was in good company.

To appreciate this bleak place, one must have a yearning for mystery or an "addiction to stones," as M. Scott Peck says in his book, In Search of Stones. Peck says, "To have a full-blown taste for mystery one must delight both in solving mysteries and in not solving them; in finding explanations for things and in living with things for which there currently is no explanation and which may be forever beyond explanation." One can only wonder why these ancient peoples worked together to roll these rocks to this expansive plain, some stones coming from 130 miles away in Wales.

Many theories have been proposed as to the purpose and meaning of this place. There is evidence that it was some sort of a spiritual center with priests carrying out their various duties. Some have speculated that the configuration of rocks was somehow linked to the yearly cycle of the sun.

Silently standing before those magnificent stones became, for me, a personal epiphany. There was this sense of connectedness with these ancient people, with myself, with God and with the earth. Then it dawned on me. We, the children of the Enlightenment, have lived with disintegration and with the conflicting separation of faith and reason for over 300 years. We have relegated religion and science to separate, isolated spheres. What I experienced on that frigid plain, was the interrelatedness of faith and reason, of religion and science, of the sacred and the profane. I experienced the underlying unity in all things, and, I too, became addicted to stones.