Cheryl Boyd is trying to stay upbeat during the coronavirus outbreak. She’s getting out into her yard to pull weeds and venturing into her neighborhood behind Stults Road Elementary for some fresh air.
On Saturday, Boyd took a break from working on her computer and went for a walk. She noticed a rock brightly decorated with Sharpie markers sitting on her neighbor’s sidewalk. As her walk progressed, she found another rock and wondered, “Oh my goodness, did I miss mine?”
“Sure enough,” Boyd told me, “there was a sweet rock at my house that said, ‘trust.’ I almost started crying. I realized some sweet family left me a note of encouragement. I was on the phone with a friend at the time, and I had to hang up.”
Boyd called her coworker at Cru, the parent company to Family Life Ministries, to share the story.
“Our family is stealing that idea,” he told her from Little Rock, Arkansas, and before long his little artists were painting rocks, too.
Boyd posted a thank you to Nextdoor.com, hoping it might be seen by the parents of the considerate children. After some detective work, she discovered the rocks were painted by neighbor Lauren Gonzalez and her sons Cru, 6, Knox, 3, and Zane, 9 months old.
“We value teaching our kids how to overcome adversity,” Gonzalez told me. “We want them to be cultivators of peace and bringers of hope. We know it’s a time of fear and anxiety, but we wanted to bring peace and hope into the lives of our neighbors.”
Painting the rocks, Gonzalez said, was the brainstorm of their nanny, Sami.
“Our neighborhood is pretty quiet, generally, but [during the coronavirus outbreak] I’ve been able to see people out riding bikes and playing ball – there’s been more engagement. People have responded to the rocks with so much gratitude. I hoped they would minister to people, but I did not expect this kind of reaction. Neighbors have been sending us text messages and thank yous on Nextdoor, and the kids’ faces light up when we read them together. We went out and gathered 50 more rocks, and we’ll paint and deliver those.”
“I’d had a long day,” said Boyd about discovering her painted message, “and I was encouraged and touched by the fact that somebody would be so thoughtful. With all our neighborhood has been through – the tornadoes and coronavirus – I’m all about things that draw us together. I wanted people to know I was appreciative. I told them they rock.”
You can watch Boyd’s Instagram story, filmed immediately after she found the painted rocks.