cemeteries aren’t for smiling.
tearing out of hair and gnashing of teeth? I can imagine.
but not smiling. except for this one day …
I was, clichéd but true, “in the neighborhood,” attending visitation at a funeral home just a few hundred yards away, and when the thought entered my mind to go there, to the cemetery, I responded without really considering whether or not it was a good idea.
dusk was fading silently into the brisk dark of impending fall, and – not surprisingly – no one was there. I guess most people don’t hang out in cemeteries after dark. Too scary.
when you have woken daily to nightmare in morning sunlight,
you no longer fear dark.
so I pulled my car down the narrow path toward that now familiar plot of ground. the surrounding gravestones were lined up in neat little rows, like childhood dominoes, and when my headlights shone upon them, it looked as if giant fireflies were flashing, then disappearing.
and then I saw them.
without the headlights, I might not have noticed, but the beam of light before me shone upon a punch of color gleaming out from the gray.
on my baby’s grave.
I sat, taken back, listening to the click of the engine as it cooled, my shoulders shaking in silent sobs of gratitude.
I pushed the car door open and walked, contemplative, in measured steps, like a bridesmaid keeping time down an aisle, and when I reached the place where my boy is – but really isn’t
– I hit my knees in tears of thank you.
the sunflowers I had left days ago were scattered there – but atop them were fresh, bright daisies – beaming hope even in the dark of that night. Someone had put flowers on my baby’s grave, and I didn’t know who. And, in that moment, it didn’t matter who. Still doesn’t. Just knowing that someone other than his mama thought of him, loved him, wished him pretty petals and prayers raised up, put a warmth in my heart that I can still feel, thinking back on it.
such a tiny gesture, this tossed bouquet, but it spoke gospel-love to me, made me remember why it’s so important, this call on my life to pay it forward,
to give my son’s spirit a legacy that will last long after I am laid in the ground.
no, cemeteries aren’t for smiling, but I sat that night letting dew soak into my church-going clothes, and i smiled wide and real and long.
because this grief is a long and painful road – but it’s not a lonely one. there are people who care, people who give with invisible hands, and the colorful punch of their kindness against the backdrop of gray is a blessing too beautiful to be withered by sadness. every kind word and gesture offered to us has been clutched, in both hands, as
a fragrant offering of God-love handed down.
sometimes you are bereft and blessed all at the same time…
and those are the times when cemeteries are for smiling.
This installment of The Bane Bane Game is a story from Sonya about a time just days ago when she was blessed by someone who anonymously paid it forward. Have you noticed God’s kindness in the daily acts of others? Post about it in the Comments section below; we love a good story around here.
Also, keep your eyes fixed this week for ways to give back to others, and come back here next Monday to post a link or leave a comment explaining how you are blessing others by playing The Bane Bane Game.