Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Here Lies Mary

Ever since I was little my dad always told me that when something goes wrong or maybe unexpected in my day, not to feel sorry for myself or walk around saying how rotten my luck is, but instead to think about what lesson I learned from the experience, or what God is trying to tell me. In my own life, I have incorporated with that, the fact that I strongly believe in karma, and that a lot of the bad things that happen to us in life are direct results of wishing bad things on people, cheating, or lying.

Well, I haven't done any of those things lately, so I've concluded that what happened to me today must have been God trying to teach me something.

I'm off work today, and had planned to make the most of my day. I got up relatively early and headed for the grocery store. It was one of those weeks that I needed to make a really big run. While I was there, I saw the loveliest bunch of peach colored roses on the clearance table, and decided this might be a good day to drive over to the cemetery and place them on my mother's grave.

So after I finished at the grocery store, I made the short drive to the cemetery. I won't lie....I don't like to go there. I know my mother isn't there, but it is a place to honor her, and two or three times a year, on a whim, I like to ride over and place something on her stone.

When I pulled up, I felt the anxiety start to build, and I decided I would make this trip very quick. I left the keys hanging in the ignition, and walked up to the gravesite. After a few words to my mom and a few tears, I laid the flowers across her stone and headed back to the car. When I got there, I had a sickening discovery. The doors on my car were locked. Not only were my keys hanging in the ignition, but my purse, my cell phone, and about $230 worth of groceries were inside.

After trying all the doors and the hatch, I finally conceeded that I was indeed locked out of my car. I decided to walk up to the cemetery offices, in hopes they'd let me use a telephone to call AAA. With temperatures on the rise, I hoped they'd get there quickly before milk and lunch meat started to spoil.

As I walked the distance to the office, I felt frustrated. Of all the days! And all the places to be stuck! And my groceries! My kids were home alone. What if there were an emergency and they were trying to call me? But suddenly, frustration started to subside, and I started thinking about my dad, and his philosophy on "bad luck".

Inside, I met the nicest lady. Her name was Judy. She got me a bottle of water, and insisted I sit down in the cool office for a bit. She told me she would have her maintenece crew come take a look at my car. She knew they had a tool for popping locks. The guys showed up and once again, couldn't have been nicer. With sweat pouring off him, the fellow finally gave up and said I should go on and call AAA.

Another trip walking back up to the office, and precious minutes ticking away on my groceries, but I remained calm. AAA said they'd have a truck out for me in less than 30 minutes. Judy offered to let me sit in her office, but still convinced God had some type of lesson for me, I declined the offer and went outside.

At first I just stood there. Then a relief carving of the Last Supper caught my eye. It was under a giant oak tree and there was plenty of shade. I walked over and studied it for awhile, deciding to touch the hand of Jesus before I left.

Then I spotted another large oak, several yards away. Something was calling me to walk to it, so that's what I did. As I walked, I started looking at all the headstones along the way. That's when I realized God's plan for me today.

The first head stone was for a boy named Jason. I noticed he was 20 years old when he died. I wondered what had happened to him. "Beloved Son and Brother". I thought about how sad his family must have felt.

Next, I noticed a vase had fallen over, and all the flowers it contained had spilled out. I walked over and picked it all back up and put it in place. They belonged to someone named Mr. White. I wondered about him too.

As I walked along, I noticed most stones had some type of art carved into them. Lots of crosses, angels, bibles, and pictures of God and Jesus, but lots of other things too. Many had wedding rings intertwined. "Together Forever". Some had dates that people had married. Some had religious symbols that weren't really familiar to me. But there were other things that were more interesting; such as a Masonic symbol, a police badge, a butterfly, a peace symbol, a hummingbird, an antique car, a Hang Loose symbol (from Hawaii), and a cat. Those are only the ones I can remember. I didn't have paper with me to write them all down.

I thought to myself, these are the things that were important in these people's lives. This is a symbol of the footprint they leave behind. I began to wonder about my own legacy. What would be important enough to me to carve on my head stone? What words would be there? What symbols? I just kept thinking I wanted it to be something more than "She sure loved her cat".

As I pondered that question, I saw the AAA truck turn the corner. The driver told me this was some type of safety feature on my car. It locks when you leave the keys in the ignition. I guess it's so someone can't steal your car, but it was an inconvenience to me. Or maybe it wasn't. Maybe I need to think about my life, and the legacy I want to leave when I exit this world. And I think that's what I'll do.

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