Growing up, I had few people I could call “best friends,” but I was blessed with a “best cousin.”
We saw each other only a handful of times a year, but our visits were a reliable constant. Similarly reliable was the (mostly) friendly rivalry resulting from such infrequent communication.
On these visits, and in a handful of letters exchanged between them, we often compared our progress towards youthful ambitions. We have long since matured beyond this petty competition, and I sometimes find myself contemplating the different paths our lives have taken, though as youth, we shared similar hopes and goals.
Though neither of us has escaped the disappointments of life, we have approached them in a different manner. I find myself frequently admiring the way my cousin manages her difficulties. She finds the silver lining of every cloud, bedazzles it till it shines, and then upturns her umbrella till it’s overflowing with heaven’s treasures.
It was from her that I learned of the delightful “Kindness Rocks” trend. Kindness Rocks are rocks that altruistic individuals have painted with cheery images or inspirational phrases and hidden for others to find serendipitously.
The idea is that the individual finding the rock will photograph it, share their find on social media, and then hide it for someone else to enjoy.
The trend’s genesis is attributed to Megan Murphy who, in 2015, painted a rock with the phrase “You’ve got this,” and hid it on a beach in Cape Cod. The idea has since spread across the United States.
There are many Facebook groups dedicated to the posting and sharing of these painted rocks, usually designated by city.
Many rocks also have a hashtag or the name of a Facebook group painted on them, to which you may post the find.
When my cousin first began posting about kindness rocks, I was delighted to do a handful of rocks with my children’s school group. Afterwards, I mostly forgot about the culture. However, this year, when my family was forced to quarantine, I began looking for simple ways for them to be creative in serving others.
I recalled the idea of kindness rocks and popped back over to my cousin’s social media page to refresh my memory.
At her home, which is on a high traffic street, she had set up a “fairy door.”
A fairy door is usually a whimsical door, painted onto a larger rock and placed at an outdoor location as a sign post that there are smaller painted rocks there for trade.
I felt this was the perfect opportunity to both brighten the lives of the essential workers who had blessed our lives throughout the pandemic and the patrons who visited their establishments.
At the top of that list for us is our local library. The Payson City Library generously allowed us to place a fairy door inside the library building.
We also have a soft spot in our hearts for frontline workers in the grocery and delivery fields, since we have family among their ranks, and feel their sacrifices keenly. We received permission to place a fairy door at one of our local grocery stores, and we placed another door near the spot where we receive deliveries at home.
Our aim is to spread the joy we feel in crafting these inspiring messages and fanciful images to those who find and re-hide them.
All you need to do to participate is find a smooth rock, paint a figure or inspirational phrase, seal it if you’re concerned about weather wear, and place it in a public location. If you’re going to place indoors or on private property, always ask permission first.
We hope the trend will brighten the dark days of the pandemic still to come, as we face the long winter.
I want my children to see this time of trial as an opportunity to, like my cousin, use their creative spirits to turn storm clouds into rainbows and raindrops into pennies.
Join us at Payson Rocks Utah on Facebook to see updates on the fairy doors at the Payson City Library and the Payson Market and to post your own Payson finds. (Serve Daily submission.)