Friday, November 23, 2012

Comfort in the Cross

Luke 7:12-13
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.

35 comments:

  1. Touching Martha :')

    It brought tears to my eyes as I read this... though I have not been fortunate enough to get an anonymous gift I do try my best to bring smiles on people's wishes and hope someday it will all come back to me in abundance!!

    Amen <3

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    1. Thank you for coming by, Me, and glad this post touched your heart.
      And, I think a smile is a wondrous, anonymous gift, freely given. May you always have many in return!
      Blessings to you!

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  2. I have tears in my eyes as I read this, Martha. What a wonderful and loving gift from someone who didnt know your friend but watched her and felt her pain. The world is indeed full of good and kind souls. Oh I cant help crying reading this. I have a teenage son and he too wants his license to start driving and I am so petrified but I also know I have to let him live his life. Thank you for sharing this amazing story, Martha. I am sharing this on FB.

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    1. Rimly, thanks so much for stopping by and for your heart-felt comment here. I, too, was so touched by this person's kindness even when she did not know Kelly. It's a story I simply had to tell.
      And, yes, it is so, so hard to watch our children grow up and allow them to tackle "adult" pursuits like driving, but we have to take a deep breath, say many prayers, and allow them to explore the world. It's the only way for them to sprout wings and fly on their own.
      Blessings to you and thanks for sharing this!

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  3. Martha, this is a beautiful and sensitive post and has touched me deeply. The best kind of gifts are the ones given anonymously.Bless those who give them, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Sulekkha!
      Glad the post touched your heart . . . Yes, may those who give without expecting anything in return be blessed always.
      Blessings to you!

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  5. Martha, Such a beautiful, heart-wrenching and inspiring story! I'm so glad I stopped by!

    This reminds me, by way of contrast, of a Thanksgiving post by another blogger who extolled the virtues of counting the blessings of what didn't happen to me, like I should be grateful I didn't lose my son, as your friend did, at an early age. When one of us loses our son, we ALL lose our son because we are all one in Christ. That's how I interpret the actions of the woman who left the cross. She was reaching out to this devastated mother in unity, rather than counting her blessings that it didn't happen to her. She used the pain of her heart-felt empathy to create a beautiful memorial for a dear soul whose family was broken.

    I can't seem to get it out of my mind that what used to be called 'empathy' and 'community' is now being replaced by many with 'thank God that didn't happen to me' or 'I'm grateful I'm so lucky too bad you're not...)'

    Thank you for bringing this back around for me. I need to work this out in my own mind and heart...XOXOXO

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Linda!
      Your comment is so beautiful, my friend. Yes, the empathy and compassion this woman showed to Kelly is what each of us should be practicing every day. I think it is in our human nature to often say of others' situations, "There, but by the grace of God, go I", and not stop to reach out with comfort for that hurting soul. It is when we nurture the divine spark within us that we can begin to see with Jesus' eyes and feel with His heart, and serve others as He served us.
      Love and blessings to you!

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    2. It's true we're united in Christ.Sometimes I forget this,but I won't after this story!
      Blessings to both of you.
      XO

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    3. Yes, we are united in Him!
      Blessings, Jasmina!

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  6. Wow, Martha:
    Brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I leave anonymous gifts. Last year for example, once every three months I'd take one of my matted photos on a bright sunny day and leave it somewhere in my downtown with a note that said it was looking for a home. It was a gift to anyone who wanted it.

    If someone left an anonymous gift for me, I don't know that I'd want to know who did so. Just the fact that someone thought so highly of me would be gift enough. That's just me though.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Chris, and glad this post touched your heart.
      I think what you do with those matted photos is a fantastic idea! As Danny loves to take photos, I'll share this with him; maybe he'll want to follow in your footsteps.:)
      Blessings, my friend!

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  7. Hi, Martha.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful happening with us. It's remarkable what such a small gesture can do to restore faith.

    Take care. Blessings!

    Casey

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Casey, and so glad you enjoyed the post.
      Yes, sometimes it only takes one small, but thoughtful, gesture to restore a person's faith and hope.
      Blessings to you!

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  8. When we were down to one car before we received an anonymous gift after church one day in our car....for the amount that would cover a second car. It was totally unexpected and a complete blessing.

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    1. Oh, wow, Jessica, that truly was a miracle and a blessing!
      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your story.
      Blessings to you!

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  9. Such a moving and sad story of grief yet wonderful story of love. Thank you for sharing this story Martha, it kinda hits home for me. Love to you.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Jan!
      Yes, this was a tough one for me to write, but when Kelly shared it with me, I knew I had to do this for her.
      Blessings and love!

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  10. I am inspired to be a better person by this post.

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    1. Wonderful! I know you already have a big heart and generous spirit, Annmarie.
      Thanks for coming by!
      Blessings!

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  11. What an incredible story!I guess also that at the right time she got to know who put the cross there.
    I truly believe that the cross brings hope!
    I wish you a nice week.
    XO

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Jasmina!
      Oh, yes, the cross definitely signifies the greatest hope of all!
      May your week be blessed, too!

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  12. What a touching story! And how amazing that the mystery is revealed in the end to be someone connected to the woman grieving. There are so many lessons in this story; the lesson of community, the lesson of giving without hope for something in return, the lesson of God's comfort for those who are grieving. Love the story and it brings to mind another couple in our church who have recently lost a son an their need for support during holidays especially.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Lynne!
      I'm so glad you liked the post and came away with so many lessons about love and hope. As we both know, grieving the loss of a loved one is one tough road. May all those grieving today find comfort in the cross.
      Blessings to you!

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  13. Thank you for sharing this story Martha. What a simple but powerful act by this anonymous person who could bring so much healing to the parents. Small acts make big differences in the lives of others. I try to make a small difference everyday in the lives of others. Stories like this inspire me to do more!

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    1. Thanks so much, Vishnu, for dropping by today!
      Yes, small acts can and do make a huge difference in the lives of others. I'm so glad this story inspired you to do more in the days to come. Believe me, Kelly's story made me rethink what I could be and should be doing for others.
      Blessings to you!

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  14. Inspiring for sure. I meditate everyday and it brings me great peace and joy.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Anita, and glad you found the post inspiring.
      Yes - daily prayer and meditation do give us such joy and peace of mind; when we are grounded in the Lord, we simply can't help but do kind things for others.
      Blessings to you!

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  15. That story is deeply touching, Martha. That someone would reach out with so much love to a stranger is just beautiful. To know that they met makes the story even more memorable. An excellent reflection for the Advent season ahead.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Corinne!
      Yes, it is such a touching story, but was a difficult one for me to write because of the emotion involved. I'm gratified to know the message of love and caring shone through. :)
      Blessings to you!

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  16. Oh Martha, I was so moved by this story. I lost my brother in a car crash 10 years ago and I remember going back to the place where the crash happened. We never put a cross there. My parents lost a son and to this day they will never get over it. I am so happy Kelly found solace in the cross and the person who put it there. Have a blessed day!

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    1. Oh, Nelieta, I know losing your brother was a crushing loss for you and your parents. So, so sorry you all had to endure this.
      Kelly did find comfort in the cross, but still tells me a day doesn't go by when she doesn't miss her Tyler.
      Thanks so much for visiting, my friend.
      Blessings to you!

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  17. I don't remember if I've ever given anybody something so spontaneously... but if I did, then thanks God.

    I have received anonymous phone calls, random visits and messages from friends I haven't even seen for so many years... somehow, I receive that HOPE that God carries through...

    I love the message of the cross that you've beautifully shared through your story... I reflect on the crib and the cross...

    I pray with you...

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Melissa, and for your lovely comment here.
      Indeed, this is the perfect time of year to reflect upon both the crib and the cross. A song we offer in church during Advent is called "Born That We May Have Life"; one of the lines actually reads "a cross in a cradle". You might want to check this song out on YouTube. :)
      Thank you for your prayers, my dear!
      Blessings!

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