By Claire Ferguson
Lisa was an elementary school teacher for 35 years, and one of her favorite activities was giving each student a rock to paint into “worry rocks” that take on the student’s fears or anxieties. “It’s amazing how you can lessen your worries by giving them away,” says Lisa. After retiring in 2015, she met a girl selling painted rocks for the Kindness Rocks Project, started by Megan Murphy in Cape Cod. Inspired, Lisa began writing messages on rocks and left them on trails, in parking lots, at the library, and at other places in the community. She loved going back to find them missing, and new rocks appeared. The first one said “BElieve in YOUrself” and she remembered a quote from Megan Murphy: “One message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life.”
In 2016, Lisa started “Comfort Rocks.” As a survivor of breast cancer, Lisa had rubbed a rock for comfort during treatments, so she started leaving about 25 to 30 painted rocks every week in the lobby of her local cancer center. Some were taken by patients, some by staff, and some by family members who needed comfort as well. Her heart overflowed with the notion of what rocks could do for all of us.
After the pandemic hit in 2020, Lisa started painting rocks and leaving them in a container by the door with a sign thanking delivery people for being essential to all of us. “It gave me such pleasure to watch from inside my house as they read the sign and then took one or two rocks,” said Lisa. “Many of them told me it helped a lot and they still have it on their dash in their truck. Just knowing someone cared meant the world to them.” As we walk the beaches collecting shells, sea glass, or rocks, Lisa encourages us to see the potential in each of these gifts of nature.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine May/June 2022 issue.