When I was about five years old my grandparents were living in Western Samoa serving a mission. One Sunday while they were there, my grandma was assigned to give a lesson to all the sisters in the ward. She wanted so badly to give a small handout or gift to all these women, but knew as was custom in Samoa, that if she gave a gift to them, they would feel obligated and guilty if they couldn't give one back in return.
One day before she gave her lesson, she was walking on the beach and saw some smooth, round, and flat rocks. She had a stroke of realization that if she gave a rock as a gift, the women may not feel obligated to give something to her in return since a rock would be something they could have easily acquired on their own. She gathered as many rocks as she could and took them back to her home. She wrote "love" on each one and faithfully prepared her lesson for these sisters that would teach them all about this grand principle.
On the day of her lesson it's easy to assume that in all of my grandmother's wisdom and beauty, she delivered a wonderfully inspiring lesson on love. At that point, she explained her gift to the women in the ward and began to distribute one love rock to each sister. In her words, "You would have thought I had just given them a diamond." The Samoan women were humble, and full of gratitude at this small, yet sincere gesture from my grandma.
Fast forward ten years later after my grandmother had passed away to a different scene, with different characters, and a different ocean coast. My mom's sister was vacationing at her beach home in California and missing her mom deeply. She took many walks along the beach each day and for a reason unknown to her, she continually felt compelled to bend down and pick up each smooth, round, flat rock that she saw. She'd carry them back to the beach house not knowing why she was collecting these rocks, but not about to ignore this strange prompting she was having. After several days of this rock collecting pattern, her husband and kids were having a hay-day teasing her about the horrible gas mileage they were going to get on the drive home after loading the car down with all these collected rocks. She'd laugh and continue to collect. It wasn't until the last day they were there as my aunt bent down to grab yet another rock, that an overwhelming recollection of her mom's story about the love rocks in Samoa hit her. She said that immediately she began to cry- knowing that it was her mom's way of telling her she loved her. My aunt ran to her husband and said, "Steve, it's my mom. The rocks, they're from my mom." She recalled the story of the Samoan love rocks to her husband and felt extremely comforted and blessed to have had this sweet experience.
My sweet aunt towed all these rocks home with her knowing full well that her mother's message to her was not only that she loved her, but also that she wanted her as her daughter to share her love with those around her. As soon as my aunt got home from her beach vacation, she got right to work painting "love" on all of these rocks, distributing them to her entire extended family, and reminding them too of this incredibly sweet story.
Now I own a love rock. And you know what? I too, feel like I've been given a diamond.