Monday, March 2, 2009

Holy Ground

As I have written before, I am doing a bible study with some women at church on the book of Joshua. This week we read Joshua 2-5. The last verse in Joshua 5 (verse 15) struck me:

The commander of the Lord's army replied, "Take off your sandals. For the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

A similar command is given to Moses when God appeared to him in the burning bush:

"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." - Exodus 3:5

Every Sunday, usually before church, Spencer and I visit Isaac at the cemetery. The beautiful white satin cross that my dad and stepmom brought him on the day of his burial service is still there. We've taken down the artificial poinsettia we had there during the Christmas season, and have been faithful to bring fresh flowers. With this weekend's snowfall, we didn't take any, and I was feeling guilty about that. But while we were there, I noticed the snow sticking to the bottom of my boots as we walked over to Isaac's grave. And clear as day this thought came to my mind: Build him a snowman, Stacy.

So I did. I didn't have a carrot for a nose or raisins for a mouth, but I did find some sticks for arms. I drew eyes, a nose, and a mouth instead. It was a little snowman, maybe 1-2 feet high, but it felt good to leave something there for Isaac, and it the midst of a snowstorm, a snowman seemed to fit better than fresh flowers anyway.

It was peaceful while we were there this past Sunday... I think the snow has a way of doing that. Sometimes, though, we've encountered others who have been in the cemetery during our visit who have greatly taken away from our time there.

A few times it has been joggers... joggers running by themselves who feel the need to just stare at us. Other times, it has been joggers running in pairs who are talking really, really loudly over their iPods in order to hear each other. Most recently, it was a man who appeared intoxicated, riding a bike, swerving all over the place, singing at the top of his lungs. And on every occasion, I have wanted to just scream: Where you are standing... this place... this cemetery... this is holy ground! My son is buried here. It is holy ground."

No, it's not the land of Canaan where Joshua is standing, nor the mountain of God where Moses was. But that cemetery... for us it is holy ground. We know Isaac isn't really there, but it is a place where we can go and feel like we're just a little bit closer to him. Tending to his grave site gives us a small opportunity to still parent him in some way. I wish that the random joggers talking over their iPods or the random guy on the bike knew that.

This week, a sweet friend, who I have never met in real life but would love to, is anticipating the one-year anniversary of her sons', Blake and Ethan, birth on March 5. Just a few short days later, she, her husband, and their daughter will mark the one-year anniversary of their death. You are welcome to visit Devon's blog here. Please lift them up in prayer, as I am sure this is to be a very difficult week for them.

25 comments:

Rebecca Louise. said...

I love the fact you built Isaac his very first snowman! X.

Tammy said...

I wish I could visit there with you, wish I was not so far away.

KM said...

I wish I was as strong as you... to share your raw
and personal emotions. I keep all mine inside.
Thank you for sharing... it helps me know others
are out there who feel like I do about my baby.
I do better just focusing on other's and trying
not think about a year ago... Glad you are
sharing yours, though. Thank you.

Susan said...

A snowman for Isaac! That is awesome.
Praying for you still.

Susan in Indiana

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Praying for Devon...praying for you...

Sammy said...

Hi Stacy what an awesome post, thank you for sharing. I love what you have said.

Devon said...

wow stacey, i love that analogy. its beautiful. just beautiful. i'm sorry others aren't respectful for you time there...

thank you for your kinds words and prayers. truly, i am so blessed with your friendship.

we need to meet up sometime soon! for reals...

The Knight Family said...

Sweet little snowman.
**Praying for you still~

~Cindy from Tennessee

Misty Rice-Baniewicz said...

Mommy what a great idea. I was so hoping to see a picture of his snowman. I had tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face when I read that. You are an awesome mommy, and Issac is so happy to have had you. I know it.

I can picture him dancing around showing all the other children up there....saying "hey guys look, look what my mommy made me just for me." She is the best!

Praying for you sweet friend....

Hugs

Erika said...

what a wonderful post, stacy. you uplift me, inspire me, and i am so glad to know you. i am keeping you close in my prayers, and devon and her family, too, of course...

love,
e

erin w. said...

You are such a wonderful mother, Stacy. What an encouragement your honest posts are.

Sonya said...

A snowman for Isaac!! How wonderful. :) I completely agree with you about that the cemetary should be a place of reverance. I remember being very little and visiting my grandmother's grave with my mother. She would always tell me to be careful where I walk because we need to respect where the bodies were laid. That has always stuck with me and each time I go to visit my brother I am very careful not to "step" on him.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine wanting to jog or exercise in any manner in a cemetary... it IS holy ground. The snowman sounded lovely, what a loving touch to leave.
Bless you,
Alicia

King J's Queen said...

I think it is wonderful that you built Isaac a snowman.

Aunt Robin said...

i wish there was someone on the grounds of the cemetery who could make sure that these "recreational" people were actually kept out of the cemetery- it is not there to be a bicycle path or a running path for them. There are plenty of public places for that. It is a place to honor and remember our loved ones and to have peace while we do so. I am sorry that they have interrupted or infringed on your time with Isaac.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to see people who have a beautiful understanding of grief and God's faithfulness! I lost my little sister some time ago, and stories like yours renew my strength! Thank you! Praise the Lord!

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Isaac's resting place is a place to be revered and respected. All cemetaries are. I remember when my mom used to take my siblings and I for walks in older cemetaries...where markers often showed dates in the 1800's. We were always taught to respect those places and often discussed how awesome God is in that He will one day raise the bodies of His believers to join Him in the air. How our little imaginations would dream! I can imagine your precious Isaac being one of those - to have His physical body become as glorified and healed as his precious spirit - What an awesome day!

Because of my mother's example of teaching us a deep respect for cemetaries and the loved ones whose physical bodies are there, I have passed this on to my daughter. Even as a toddler, she would love to pick up and straighten the flowers that the wind had blown over so that they would still look pretty. Now, at 15, any time we visit a cemetary, she still quietly walks over to as many graves as she can, picking up the knocked-over flowers and very respectfully standing them back up.

I am positive your Isaac was smiling down as you drew the face on his snowman. I can even imagine him giggling with delight.

You are a precious mother.

melaniewj

Bluebird said...

What a sweet idea. I'm so glad you found a way to still tend to his grave, and I think a snowman was even more important than any flowers could have been.

Laura said...

I too want to scream at people who are walking through the cemetery and letting their dogs run all over! I have even been known to scare away flock of geese away from Pearl's grave. It is holy ground....we are teaching our children that too.

I so love reading your words...so beautifully said.

Sending love,
Laura

Amy Mott said...

As hard as it is to go to my grandmother's grave, I always find peace with witnessing the flowers and trinkets people leave on their loved one's grave. I would have loved to see the snowman for Isaac. How touching and very sweet of you to do that for your son.

~Kelli said...

That would be so frustrating- joggers and drank old men. I'd feel the same way!!

The snowman was a great idea!

Still praying...

Julie said...

Thinking of you, Stacy. I completely understand what you say about even though you know he is not there, tending to Isaac's grave is a way to feel you are still parenting him. I'm sorry all your visits aren't peaceful, but thankful it was good this week. And I wish I could tend to my babies more...they are 2 hours away and it hurts my heart to be that distance away.

Praying for you and Devon...

FSD said...

Wow! How very touching....the entire post. Praying for you.

Walking by Faith said...

So sweet about the snowman!!!Praying for you still~heidi

Stars in the sky said...

I have read your post over and over, so true, Holy Ground.

I read your blog everyday~ You and Isaac are in the hearts of people that you dont even know are praying for you.