Remember the man I told you I always see if we go after work hours on Friday to visit Rachel? He had been on my heart for a long time - always wondering who he visited. I figured it must be his wife since he was so devoted to getting there. And I figured it must have been fairly recent for him to still be going every Friday. I guess since he is the only one I see there as consistently as I am, I felt a connection in a way.... I don't really know how to word that....
But anyway, I noticed he had been leaving his fresh flowers each week in the snow bank by the road. I have been incredibly blessed in my times of not being able to move snow by my friends clearing the way for me to Rachel's grave and could just imagine how his heart felt each week not being able to get over to the stone.
|previous weeks' roses buried|
So one day when I pulled up to my shoveled area, I walked over and left him a note near his flowers.
I wrote something like:
Please leave us a note on Rachel's grave (two rows down) as to what grave you visit each week. My family and I would like to make you a path to where your heart is.And I left him one of the cards we handed out at her birthday with the lyrics to the songs we sang and a verse on it so he would know of our love for the Lord.
I planted it in the snow where he had been leaving his flowers and prayed it wouldn't blow away....
He never responded.
The next storm, I had Matt go down after work one night and make a path to the area we've seen him at. And the next time I went, he had left his flowers in the snow anyway. I wasn't sure how to take it... was he upset that we had overstepped boundaries? Did he never get the note? Did he prefer to be left alone? Did he like leaving them there so they would be upright and get water from the snow?
The next week was when I pulled up and Rachel's spot wasn't shoveled for the first time and I had no idea what God's purpose was in that. I honestly was slightly disappointed with Him that he would put this on my heart for another person at the same time he took my blessing away. But I concluded he must just think it's my turn to give.... if only I was physically capable....
On Easter, after church, I found a beautiful yellow rose taped to a card.
I opened it up and this is what it said:
Dear Good People,
Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for extending such kindness to someone you have never met. I am physically disabled and having you clear a path to the resting place of my wife and daughter was most sincerely appreciated.
God bless you and yours.I stood there and cried.... it's his daughter too - I knew I felt a connection to him.... My tears were not of sadness... they were of thankfulness. Thankfulness that Naomi & Brent have shoveled for me for so long because without them doing that for me, I don't know if I would have ever thought of it myself for someone else. Thankfulness that my God is REAL... PRESENT....an amazing PROVIDER.... that He puts His people into action that will not only bless the person they are serving, but also themselves. I cried because He blessed me for something that I only did because of what He has done for me. How good is my God?! Indescribably good. His goodness is immeasurable. It's incomprehensible. And I don't deserve it, but He gives himself to me anyway.
We walked over to see the stone.... his wife died 5 years after his daughter who was only 39 when she died. And it has been 9 years since his wife died and he still comes each week. Devotion. My kind of devotion. I thanked God that He put me near another who showed me it's okay to still visit the cemetery each week even years later.... and that even so many years later, He still meets this man there.... that He doesn't forget him. That at a time when I'm sure he thinks everyone has moved on, God put him on my heart and that He still shows him he isn't alone! That I got to share Rachel with another person. I looked up and two yellow roses, identical to the one he left us at Rachel's grave, hung above the stone. He gave us one of their roses....and as special as that was, the first thought in my mind was who can I give this to? I wanted to keep the blessing flowing to someone else.
I walked over to stand with Rachel again for a moment before we left. The warm sun and breeze on my face, I looked down at her name.... Our sweet girl.... and said "You changed me Rachel.... you did. Thank you."
Sometimes the blessings in the cold snow aren't revealed until the warmer days of spring.... when new life begins.... interesting that this truth would become so clear in a cemetery on a warm Easter day. A day when we celebrate not that Jesus existed and died - but that He didn't stay in the grave. I doubt that was a coincidence. In December, we celebrate that He was born - as was Rachel.... and on Easter, we celebrate that although He died, He is still very much alive - as is Rachel.