Finding the perfect stone

Isn’t it amazing how many ways a person can love?

I see the first and most profound love as love of God. Our lives begin with Him and end with Him.

Then there is love of family, which, to me, comes closest to being unconditional.

How about love of friends? If we choose them well, they can be lifetime loves.

Of course there is the sweet romantic love, one I hope we all experience in our stay on this planet.

I believe the deep love we develop for animals in our lives is another kind of humbling love because they teach us so much.

And the love of self is essential in the realization of all of the others.

But you know what? During the years I taught school — starting with preschool children and ending up teaching honor seniors and college classes — I saw another kind of love. I saw students fall in love with teachers and vice versa.

There were children in my classes over the years who meant the absolute world to me so I believe that was real love as well.

Everyone of these kinds of love I call “beyond the call of duty” kind of love. It is endless with no thought or bounds.

One time I heard a story about such love. To me, it is the closest I can come to describing the length, breadth and depth of such a love.

Once there was a young Native American boy who was very, very poor.

More than anything he wanted to give a love gift to his beloved teacher. Because there was no money, he knew he had to find the perfect gift.

When Saturday came and there was no school, he began walking. He walked for miles and miles combing the earth knowing he would recognize the gift when he saw it.

Then suddenly, there it was: something as beautiful as his love for his teacher.

Nestled beside a large tree was a perfect stone — smooth as corn silk and the color of autumn sunset. The little boy gathered it to himself with gentleness and thrilled of the beauty of this stone.

Tucking it inside his coat pocket, he walked the miles back to his teacher’s house, and with love over flowing; he presented the stone to her.

She looked at the stone and then she looked at the little boy. She saw weariness and hunger and realized the significance of his gift. She caressed the stone turning it over and over and even touching it to her cheek.

She said to him, “It is so wonderful and I shall treasure it always. But you must have walked for miles and miles to find such a perfect stone. The little boy smiled and said simply, “Long walk, part of gift.”

Every one of us has walked such a walk for someone we love and we walked it without a thought of reward or result.

The strength it takes for us to, “Go beyond the call of duty,” I believe surely comes from a higher power.

I hope all of us have found the perfect stone for someone we love.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.