Rocks, Water, and Brushes: Trying to Fix a Bigger Problem

kyla jug twoWe were almost the only people at the cemetery that Thursday evening, and definitely the only ones there with a gallon of water and scrubbing brushes.

The last time we visited, Esther’s grave stone had just been placed and it was muddy. The words etched in the new granite stone were filled with brown dirt and we didn’t like it. We wanted it to be perfect and clean because it represented her. I guess we really wanted to do something for her, to take care of her like parents are supposed to. Yet all we had was a cold, hard stone set in the ground. So there Adam and I knelt, scrubbing and rinsing, digging in the little holes, and pouring water. All the while, Kyla shouted with delight at every splash. When the water was gone, thus the cleaning forced to an end, we decided to take a walk around. As we talked about life, death, and the heaviest burdens on our mommy and daddy hearts, Kyla discovered the absolute joy of gathering tiny rocks and filling our now empty jug with her collection. We tried to laugh through our tears, and wondered if this was a normal way to spend a family evening together. Probably not, we reasoned. But this was now our normal.

kyla dandelion 2I guess the whole picture would have looked ridiculous to anyone looking on. A couple of people trying to make sense of something that can’t truly be understood, and trying to fix something that is beyond their human capacity to change. Cleaning that stone every day wouldn’t really lessen the pain.  The truth is, there is One who can really fix us. That One is our Savior, Jesus. He came not only to bring us eternal life, but to make right everything that was wrong in this fallen world. When he died and rose again, he conquered death. Although this world is still under the curse and pain of sin, it won’t be forever. A day is coming that death will no longer reign and those who are His will only know His life. I believe one day, we will look back on the day we scrubbed Esther’s grave stone and laugh. We will be experiencing the glory and victory of life so completely, that we won’t even be able to remember what the temporary separation of death felt like.

For now, I am left cleaning a head stone. Sometimes with water and sometimes with tears. I carry the sting of death deep in my heart.

Yet I know that one day I will  carry the complete joy of perfect life. And THIS knowledge  gives me hope to keep living every day.


  1. Amanda Wingerter says:

    Loved this post. Isn’t it bitter sweet how we will always care for the ones we love in whatever way we can, even when they are gone from this Earth. I think back to all the times I’ve watched my dad clean my mom’s gravestone like this over the years.
    I’ve done a lot of reading since we lost our baby early 2nd trimester right after Christmas. I just finished The Shelter of God’s Promises by Shiela Walsh. It was so meaningful in my life right now. One thing that really stood out to me in the end is when she talked about walking with our wounds in such a way that gives glory to Christ. I’m reminded of this as I read your words about carrying the sting of death deep in your heart. We’ll always walk with these wounds, but we can do it with the strength and resiliency that comes through hope in Christ, and through this, He is glorified even in our pain.

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