Marion Ueckermann

A Novel Place to Fall in Love

A Pebble in My Pocket - 3

Ripples of Hope


This blog follows on from Train up a Child, and my reflections of 18 September 2011:

When I helped Ryan move to Cape Town at the end of April this year (2011), we managed, between unpacking boxes and buying missing items for his new home, to find some time to spend together on the beach. We walked across the soft white sands of Bloubergstrand, Table Mountain a distant blue backdrop, until we reached the darker wet sand of the ocean’s boundary. As we strolled along the shoreline we searched for shells, kicking and poking at seaweed that had washed ashore. But the ocean didn’t wash up shells on this pristine beach; rather, pebbles dotted the tidemark.

Every now and then I stooped to pick up one that caught my eye. Soon I had a handful of shiny, smooth pebbles. As I slipped them into my pocket, the thought crossed my mind of what a great title Pebbles in my Pocket would make for a book. I determined to use it one day, not knowing then what story would be deserving of this name. Four months later, I knew.

Today I sit on a different beach, in a different part of my homeland, South Africa. My husband, Noel, and I are on holiday for a week in Umhlanga, on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Here, the course granulated sand in varying shades of tan, are a stark contrast to the castor sugar ones of the Western Cape.

We take a walk on the sun-kissed beach, stepping over shells left by retreating waves, where wet meets dry. Finally, we choose a less inhabited piece of beach to relax, watch the ebb and flow of the tide, and soak up the remaining afternoon sun.

I gaze across the ocean, my thoughts consumed with writing this book, when I realize that the small section of beach we’re sitting on is different. Pebbles, large and small, lie scattered in the sand, revealed with every ebbing wave.

An excited child chattering close-by, draws my attention. I glance across to see a small boy, around three years of age, having fun with his dad as they throw pebbles and stones into shallow rock pools.

“Splash,” he squeals in delight.

“Splash,” his father echoes, relishing this time with his son.

Splash…and I’m reminded of the ripples created by falling pebbles as they make contact with water.

When I first started thinking about writing Pebbles in my Pocket, I found an amazing quote by Robert F. Kennedy, used in the first blog post, The Start of this Blog Journey.  At that time, I was still unsure what kind of story—fiction or non-fiction—I would pen. When Kyle shared Kennedy’s quote with the Re-birth team, they immediately adopted it as part of their vision, including it in their promo video.

I think it’s worthy of repeating.

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope…and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Kennedy’s words encompassed what these five young men set out to do with The Re-birth Movement and their first faith outreach on the train system in Europe.

When David slew Goliath, he picked up five smooth stones and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag. Five. Yet it took only one small stone to bring down the Philistine giant.

Knowing the plans He has for them, what ripples of hope would emit from the splashes of their lives, what giants would tumble from their impact, the Father chose five pebbles from apron pockets, and used those cut apron strings to catapult these pebbles into the sea of humanity.

I gaze across at the toddler and his father again before closing my eyes, allowing the roar of the ocean to fill my ears, the salty sea breeze my lungs, and I think of the fun the Father has had with His Re-birth pebbles, and they with Him.

The day after my birthday, Noel and I have breakfast on the patio of our third-story holiday apartment, overlooking the ocean. The glistening expanse of water slowly becomes darker as ominous clouds encroach the coastline. White horses ripple the undulating seas, a telltale sign that the ocean’s calm belongs to yesterday.

Life can be like that—one moment calm, the next tumultuous.

I watch the ships on the horizon, seemingly unmoving, firmly anchored to the ocean floor, and I’m reminded that how we get through the stormy moments of life depends entirely on where our anchor lies.