Good Friday looms gray and the sky roars. We awaken to pounding rain, the house shakes with thunder. I press my forehead to the window and look up into white skies, draw breath at swaying trees.
Surely the Kingdom is breaking through…lamenting the memory that bleeds deep into the earth on this day.
It is also the first day of spring break. The boys stand beside me and stare at the rain. They know. There will be no wildflower hike today. No badminton or a day trip to one of the state parks. It’s an inside day.
By noon the rain has slowed to a soft drizzle so I pile them in the van, grab my Bible and we go searching for a holy moment in this soggy day. I’ve wanted to see since I heard the testimony from a dead man—his dear friend spoke of how his deceased friend brought a small group to this place…how it moved them all.
But it seemed odd to look for life in the place where the dead sleeps. So I never went. But today, I need life-giving moments. I need to remember. And I want them to too.
So we drive to the cemetery.
I get the key to the mausoleum from the office and the caretaker asks, have you been here before? Have you seen it?
No, I say. This is the first time.
He smiles and says he hopes we enjoy. It’s life sized, you know.
We drive up the narrow ribbon, squeeze in between the dead and my boys are quiet. I wonder to myself, have they ever been to a cemetery before? And the answer is no and for a moment, I shiver at God’s great mercy.
The flowers have been placed and they roll out endlessly before us and there are sculpture gardens in between and I say, it’s pretty, isn’t it? But the place we are going is in the very back of the cemetery and I park and we get out and they still don’t have words.
I unlock the door and we enter slow, peek around the corner.
They want to know why there are names on the walls. And, what does it mean if there is a birth date, but no date of death? They speak in hushed tones, as if the dead will wake, and they run fingers over names carved in stone.
We have arrived and when they see it, their questions are stilled. We sit in the chapel and let the memory fall over us. For, we do remember this night. We remember it in hearts and veins and synapses. It is part of our story.
We stand in front of the table and study the faces and breathe deep. A sculpture, a piece of art cannot capture it all. But it helps.
Close your eyes, I say, and listen.
They do and I read the scripture. And we hold hands and pray. When we leave, the sun has come out. I lock the doors. We drive around and look at the other sculptures. Until it starts to rain again.
When I return the key I ask the man about the artist. He doesn’t know the name. I think he is deceased now. It’s been part of our gardens since the 1960s, he says. He first made one for a church in St. Louis. We had to have one, so we commissioned him to make another. In 1964 it was featured in the World’s Fair in New York.
But he didn’t know the name.
We are quiet the rest of the day. And the rain keeps falling.
How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.
Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: