WHERE THERE ARE ANGELS

Ice-scarred trees at six-plus feet will testify for decades to come of the Maumee River’s unwelcome rush into the cemetery where Mom and Dad are interred. She knocked over gravestones, carried some away to heave elsewhere, cracked others, and deposited countless tons of ice plates and river-bottom mud well above a grown man’s head through the entire grounds.

After more than a month, the street leading to the cemetery finally opened, but the drive leading to the section where Mom and Dad are interred remains closed. Though receding, mud-packed ice plates are still stacked 2-3 feet high there, covering hundreds of feet of ground. A “No Pedestrians” sign is posted, lest we think it is only vehicles that are not allowed access. But the drive leading in has been cleared, and today I couldn’t resist ignoring the signs and barrier, to get as close to Mom and Dad’s site as possible.

I’ve told many friends and family how guilty I feel — how petty — for pre-mourning the loss of the endearing little ceramic angel I had placed at Mom and Dad’s stone. As I walked toward the site, I searched the mountains of ice with my eyes, just in case. Getting closer, I spotted a surprising sight. A bit beyond where I would place Mom and Dad’s stone to possibly be, a large gravestone stands upright. An approximately 6-8-foot clearing surrounds it. Clearing. As in grass. Ground. A curious thing, and I can’t figure out how it came to be. And in the middle of that little clearing was what looked like a chunk of not-yet-melted muddied ice.

But at that point, my eyes were welling, because all signs pointed to this being a loving and amazing God-gift.
And it was.
And it is.
And she was muddy, but otherwise completely intact.
Not a chip.
Not a scratch.
Still close to “home.”

I also soon realized there was a small path clear enough to get around the dangerous ice heaps, just enough to retrieve her. God amazes me. We endure difficulties, for certain. But He makes His love and presence and tenderness and sovereignty known in ways that speak to our own heart. Sometimes even when we are petty, and disobey the no pedestrians sign.

And He wasn’t done. As my husband Keith and I were walking back toward the truck, we spotted my daughter Deanna. She was on a quick break from her Yoga Teacher Training classes. She had her lunch with her, and had intended to eat it quickly where her classes are. But she felt drawn to drive to the cemetery, and felt a nudge that she would see Keith and me there.

There was no reason for her to believe that. There was no reason for her approximately 15 unplanned minutes to overlap with our approximately 30 unplanned minutes.

Just as there is no reason for a little ceramic angel to survive a cataclysmic ice-flow flood and freeze, and then make her little muddied white self known in a sea of muddied white.

But, God…

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Today is the fourth anniversary of this event. Every detail in this that I wrote then is true. This may not be a poem, but it is a tribute to my downright poetic God, who leaves me in awe.