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Man Gives His Life to Skipping Stones

Outside magazine featured Kurt Steiner, currently the world’s greatest stone skipper. Over 22 years, he has won 17 tournaments. In 2013, he threw a rock that skipped so many times it defied science.

Steiner has dedicated his entire life to stone skipping. It helps him deal with his depression, and he even claims it can help us achieve “inner balance.” But his quest (like every idol we worship) has cost him dearly. In part, his dedication (or worship) left him broke, divorced, and, since the death of his greatest rival, adrift from his stone-skipping peers. Now, in middle age, with a growing list of aches and pains, he contemplates the reality that he throws rocks not simply because he wants to, but because he has no choice.

Kurt split from his wife in 2017. He said:

I like to solve puzzles. My marriage was the biggest puzzle of all … Everything good was there, for a couple of [messed]-up people. But she ultimately couldn’t cope with my particularities of being [messed]-up—and it was mutual. I couldn’t be that somebody who was deserving of some kind of normalcy and love, I couldn’t be that. I tried. But I couldn’t get it the way she needed without damaging myself further.

The article concluded with Kurt’s longing for the real source of his quest:

I’ve had to accept that there are things about myself I’m never gonna get right … I don’t want to say I am never happy, or that I don’t know what that is. Stone skipping does reward me, in the way it makes me forget, in the way it gives me hope … Skipping stones makes me happy, because there are hints of happiness writ large. That happiness is not dead.

Possible Preaching Angle:

It’s easy to judge Kurt for the obsession which hasn’t healed his brokenness. But we should ask ourselves: What are the idols of my heart that prevent me from worshiping the true God?

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