THE HOPE ROCK by: Adrian Hall McCloud

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THE HOPE ROCK by: Adrian Hall McCloud

The “Hope” Rock

For most people, it looks like just a rock, but to some including myself it is a constant reminder. People struggle everyday with life issues, and the rock representing HOPE helps to see light at the end of any dark tunnel. I have been thru many difficult things in my 27 years of Life and I can honestly say without HOPE, I probably would not have overcome them. My mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer when I was nineteen years old.  She had been sick nearly a year and a half before the doctors and myself, had lost the one thing that was keeping us positive… Hope.  Not long after the doctor’s prognosis, my mother and her sister took a trip to New Mexico, as a “last resort”. There was a place that was considered to be a “Holy town”. My mother bought everything from “Holy dirt” to “Holy water”. However, it wasn’t until a drive on a small road that a complete stranger would not only change my mother’s life, but mine as well.
My mother and her sister came across a group of people who were all running for different causes. My aunt told my mother that the next person she saw, she would donate twenty dollars and ask them to run for my mothers cancer. They drove several miles before they saw anyone, and then a man came along. A man who was covered in tattoos riding a bike. My aunt asked the man if he would ride for my mother’s cancer, and he said that he would be honored to, and that he was also running for his wife.  As he offered to ride for my mother, he pulled a small rock out of his fanny pack, he handed it to her through the window, he told her to keep it. It was a simple rock with the word HOPE written across it, the rock was outlined with five small dots. “Each dot represents each time my wife has had brain surgery for her cancer, and I want you to have it” he said. Then, my mother with tears in her eyes, a smile on her face and Hope in her heart and just a small simple rock placed in her hand, watched as this complete stranger rode off on his bike. 
I could tell there was something different about my mother when she returned home. She was okay with living OR dying. She now had HOPE, she understood that everything happened for a reason, and in the end, everything would be okay. 
My mother passed away just two months short of my 21st birthday. I was angry, sad, depressed, and confused. These feelings continued for months and I took it out on everyone around me, I resorted to pills to make me a ‘happier’ person or to help me cope with my mother’s death. Then one day, I found the HOPE rock in and old gym bag. The rock couldn’t have reappeared at a better time, because without that little reminder who knows what road I may of ended up going down. 
Now I choose a different way of coping with the death of my mom, while helping others going through difficult times themselves.   I spend a lot of time to making HOPE rocks so others can have that small reminder to always have hope, EVERYONE could use it, we need it to have something to look forward to, something to aim for, a reminder that we can get through everyday life. I started giving these rocks to people suffering from cancer and their families, but I soon realized that there are so many people out in this World who could use HOPE for completely different reasons. Each Hope rock is different, but they all have the same meaning. I have gained so much from a complete stranger whom I’ve never seen, and will probably never meet. A simple rock from a small town in New Mexico brought my mother hope and helped me get through some of the hardest times of my life. Who knows what a simple Hope rock could do for another complete stranger. 
I put the initials J.C. on the back of every single rock I paint memory of my mother Jerry Cox, and the initials of- quite possibly… someone else. 
Whomever it may be to end up with a HOPE rock, cherish it. Use it as a small reminder whenever your down, or going through hard times, and then maybe one day, you’ll meet a stranger who may need it more than you, and then it will be your turn, your turn to spread HOPE.  It changed the way I live my life, then and now.  Just a rock… with a very important word.

In Memory of Jerry Cox 
Always Have Hope 

  My Aunts version of the Hope Rock Story….

The Gift of Hope
 It was spring break in 2004 and we went to New Mexico, searching for a miracle.  Jerry was suffering from Carcinoid Syndrome and the medical prognosis was not good.  We stayed in Santa Fe but our destination was El Santuario de Chimayo.  The chapel known as the "Lourdes of America."  We visited El Santuario de Chimayo the first day after our arrival.  It was early morning and the birds were singing.  The church there is famous for its 'healing sands.'  
While there we learned that there would be a pilgrimage on Good Friday with people walking to Chimayo.  On Friday morning we set off early.  We were amazed to see people walking along the interstate highway, over ten miles from the shrine.  Once we turned off on the road leading to the church, the traffic slowed and walkers were on both sides.  The pilgrims were representative of all ages, economic groups, and races.  Some rode on horses, and there were empty church vans off to the side.  Some of the faithful were giving water to the walkers and other groups were giving away rosaries. 
We quickly realized that we would never get close enough to the church to get inside.  Jerry was not strong enough for a long walk, and I did not want to leave her alone.  So we decided to offer a cash donation to the next walker we saw on our side of the highway, asking that the donation be taken to the shrine. As luck would have it, the next walker was a body builder in a tank shirt that showed off his tattoos.  Jerry and I laughed at our choice, wondering if the donation would ever make it to the church.  And then we stopped and Jerry talked to him.  The walker recognized that Jerry was not well, and then told us about his wife.  His wife had suffered from brain cancer that was in remission.  She had endured multiple surgeries and endless treatments.  It was then that he gave Jerry the Hope Rock, his gift of hope for Jerry.  He explained that each dot on the rock commemorated one of his wife's surgeries.  Our walker promised to deliver the cash donation and to offer a prayer of healing for Jerry.  And we knew that it would be done as promised.  We had hopes of a miracle knowing that for Christians a miracle is the evidence of the 'protective concern of God for his children.'  As another pilgrim wrote his pilgrimage 'didn't cure me, but then it's God's will.  Peace of mind is sometimes better.'  And so it is with 'hope.'

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