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I heard on that weird and dark television show, Westworld, the concept of a cornerstone which got me thinking.  I looked up cornerstone and the most obvious, clear cut definitions are:

1. a stone that forms part of a corner in the outside wall of a building and that often shows the date when the building was built

2. something of basic importance

These are not what I was looking for. Oxford says this:

An important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.

I remembered there are some churches called Cornerstone and so I looked in the Bible dictionary. Hmmm…..mentioned twice in the New Testament that Jesus is the cornerstone of the church.

OK, back to Westworld, the character speaking of a cornerstone is talking about the death of his young son and how that event had become the cornerstone of his life, which this character goes on to define for us as an event in your life that you base your life around, from that time forward. I think that most often this is a sad or tragic thing – like losing a child, or having a crime committed against you – you’ve heard, “don’t let that define you” – easier said than done. I have been very close to two friends losing very young children and I would say that not letting it define you is a daily struggle.  I suppose what is even more important is how you use a cornerstone event – how you let it affect you. I would hope to react as gracefully and inspiringly as my two friends, Betsy and Alice, did and continue to do (see “Why I Think It’s True” 2-28-16 and .

But I wonder – can there be a cornerstone event that is something good that has happened to you?  How about one’s Christian faith as a cornerstone. I would love to have that define me and sometimes it does but it is a daily yielding that is necessary and I am not especially good at that. In fact, doing anything every single day is tough for me (like working out – ugh). How about marrying the right person, who you still love and admire many years later or a job you get great satisfaction from? Maybe we can’t rely on just one cornerstone but we have to see that there are many in one’s life that shape and define you.

Today, I read through a book that made me think of the many different “cornerstones” people have.  The book is called Strong is the New Pretty and I was so intrigued, simply by the title and the cover photo of a young girl who looks like she is about to dive into a pool for a race, that I bought it. It is a collection of photos of girls from about 5 to 18 years old.  It has their first names and a quote by each.  The chapters are titled like this: Confident, Wild, Resilient, Creative, Determined, Kind, Fearless and Joyful. Maybe for some, one of these attributes can become a cornerstone. I would probably pick “joyful” if “picking” was a possibility.  But alas, although I wish it was, joy does not define me. The author, Kate Parker, is a photographer and a mom of two girls.  Her message is clear: pretty is NOT what it is all about. Being capable, trying your hardest, being your true self, going for it - is.  Raising boys, I didn’t personally have to worry too much about this but I sure wish I had been raised like this. Our niece came to live with us at age 14 and she had been through a lot, so she was already pretty, darn strong.  A really cool young woman at our church was not allowed to cut her hair when she was growing up.  Apparently, her father felt that long hair was feminine and what a girl should look like.  I probably don’t have to tell you that she wears her hair very short now – and it looks great.

So, what is your cornerstone? I’m still considering what mine is. I’m so very blessed that I don’t have a tragedy that I can’t get beyond. Yes, my mother (and best friend) passed away when I was 31, pregnant with our third child, and I’ve felt other heartbreak and disappointment now and then but I think I have tried to let God lead me and when I give it up to Him, He is the very best cornerstone I could imagine.

I would love to hear what your cornerstone is and how you’ve handled it. Please comment below.