As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out - the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."
My friend, Kelly, and her husband endure the nightmare all parents dread: Losing a child. Their son, Tyler, is killed in a car wreck not long after getting his driver's license. The tragedy consumes the family with overwhelming grief.
As the slow, painful days and weeks unfold, Kelly finds comfort and solace in taking fresh flowers to the site of the crash. She talks to Tyler. She prays to God.
She weeps . . .
And, she returns faithfully, week after week, to replace the wilting blooms with new ones. In loving memory of the son she so desperately misses.
It is on one of these routine visits when Kelly gets the surprise of her life. Where there should be a bouquet in need of removal, she sees this:
A simple, yet elegant cross standing at the spot. An eternal reminder . . .
Kelly is dumbfounded. Her tears flow. Who of her friends was so thoughtful, so caring, to place a permanent memorial here for Tyler? She has to find out!
Call after call. E-mail after e-mail. Friends in the neighborhood, at work, at church. Everyone agrees the placement of the cross is a generous, loving gesture, but not a one takes credit for it.
Kelly is baffled, but finally resigns herself to the fact she may never know who did this for Tyler. For her. That she may never have the chance to thank this person properly.
Years have passed since the accident which claimed Tyler's life. Kelly still has days when she feels heavy in her heart. It is on one of these when a conversation she has with two friends from her Cross Fit training takes an unexpected turn.
"Are you going to vote early, Kelly?" Ann asks. Linda listens in.
"You bet!" Kelly says. "Voting is a freedom my family never takes for granted. It's something my Tyler so looked forward to be able to do. I so wish he had had the chance . . ."
Her voice trails off. Ann knows the story. Linda doesn't.
"Kelly, if I'm not being too intrusive here, what happened to Tyler?"
With tears welling, Kelly recounts the story of the car accident and how a day doesn't go by when she doesn't miss him.
"I still visit the site of the crash," she tells the women. "It might sound strange, but I get such comfort kneeling before the cross someone placed there."
"Someone?" Linda asks. "You mean, you don't know who put it there?"
Kelly shakes her head. "For months, I asked every friend I could think of if they were the one to do such a kind thing. No one admitted to having done it. I guess I'll never know who this angel is."
Linda looks at Kelly intently before posing another question.
"Kelly, where did you say this crash happened?"
"I didn't. It was on Mars Hill Road near The Hermitage."
"Kelly!" Linda gasps. "I know who put the cross there!"
"You do?" Kelly is incredulous.
"Yes! Yes! I know for sure! It was my mother. For weeks, she watched you bringing flowers there. Saw how great your grief was. And, she wanted to give you hope."
Now, the eyes of all three women are brimming with tears.
"And, she did, Linda," Kelly tells her, "more than anyone could ever know. Oh, how grateful I am to finally be able to thank my angel!"
Have you ever given or been given an anonymous gift?
Will you pray with me?
Today, Father, we pray for all parents who have lost a child. Surround them with Your grace, Your comfort, and Your peace. Let them rest in the blessed assurance that one day they will be reunited with their loved one in Heaven, where Jesus will wipe away every tear. Amen.