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Grass on a Grave

Grass on a Grave

It has been almost a year since Dominic.

In some ways, it seems like it all happened yesterday, and in some ways it feels like a lifetime has passed.

A Year of Healing Brokenness

One thing that is odd, when you’ve lost someone, is how differently time seems to function. I know time is moving on. One of the most poignant ways that reality hits me is when I get news of friends becoming pregnant. It surprises me, actually, but a year after Dominic’s death, each announcement still brings a prick. Not a gut-wrenching stab, as it used to be, but more like the dull ache that follows a broken joint that has begun to heal.

And it’s not just because I no longer have my baby. It’s also a wistfulness that comes from the way his loss has made me realize just what an unbelievable blessing children are, and how much I wish I had many more of them. And sometimes that realization makes me feel like I am standing, static, in a world that is constantly, beautifully blooming.

So many babies. So many families increasing. So many perfect, beautiful little miracles, becoming  – everywhere.

With each pregnancy announcement, my soul whispers inwardly, “Do you know – really, truly know – just what you have been given?”

There is always, despite how much I try to release it, a bit of envy.

And more than a little bit of anger at those who do not know, or who squander, what they have been given.

As part of my consulting work with the school systems, I review Medicaid notes that staff in public schools write about the work they do with behaviorally and emotionally challenged youth. I recently reviewed a note about a young teen that had just had an abortion.

It left me almost breathless, as I felt the joint re-breaking.

There have been so many times, over this past year, when I have felt the weight of irony: that so many who want children cannot have them, and so many who can have them choose to kill them. I want to scream, to pound the walls, to make people see…

The wonder. The beauty. The incomparable blessing and gift; the image of the living God that is children.

But I cannot make people see. I can only know that now I, myself, see. And with that vision comes a sadness that it took losing my child to really, fully experience the magnitude of the blessing children are. And a sadness because, now that I know, my longing to have more of them has magnified beyond words.

Going to the Grave

Sometimes, in spite of all that the Lord has done in my life through Dominic, I just miss him. I lose touch with God’s work and God’s love and God’s purpose, and I just want my baby back. And sometimes, for some reason, I just need to feel that – the missing him and wanting him.

So I went to his grave. Just me and DD2, because DD1 is out of town visiting her grandmother. And, on this visit, the Lord brought something to my attention.

Grass.

Growing around his gravestone.

Where there, before now, was only dirt.

This may not seem like a significant thing to most of the world. Of course grass will grow, eventually. It’s what happens in nature.

Yet, for me, on that day, it was the Lord.

At the time, I just noted the grass, creeping around the edges of Dominic’s gravestone, and felt the “heaviness” that comes when I know the Lord is trying to tell me something.  I didn’t know, at that moment, the full revelation of what the Lord wanted me to understand, but I did know that the grass felt like a symbol of everything I was feeling about Dominic and babies and life. This grass, growing up over the bare ground that surrounded my baby’s grave – a picture of the cycle of life, moving forward.

It felt like life moving forward without me.

Families growing, babies being born, children growing up…grass. All that flourishing around me.

Me…the bare ground of my baby’s grave.

But I knew that wasn’t the message the Lord wanted me to get.

God’s Message in Grass

When I got home, I knew that the Lord had a message for me in the grass. And, as always, He would reveal it through His Word.

Scripture has become like a treasure hunt for me, since Dominic. The Lord sends his personal messages to me, but I have to find them. Sometimes he completely surprises me with His message as a part of my regular devotion time. But other times, like this one, He imprints an impression on my heart, like the symbol of grass, and then has me work to uncover the truths He wants me to have.

So I went home and began searching scripture for references to grass. And, as I did, His message to me became clear.

 

  • “[Who satisfies] a desolate wasteland and make[s] it sprout with grass?” Job 38:27
  • “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:1-3.
  • “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.” Psalm 65:11-12
  • “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.” Psalm 147:8
  • “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream…As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants…” Isaiah 66:12-14
  • “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” Matthew 6:30
  • “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8

I got it. The picture, unfolding from grass. A glimpse of life flourishing from barrenness, under God’s hand. Grace and beauty from emptiness and desolation.

The Lord showed me that I got it wrong – I am not the lifeless dirt around the grave.

I am the budding grass He is growing all around it.

Even in this barren wasteland of a newly dug grave – especially in this barren wasteland of a newly dug grave –  He causes life to spring up in me. And it’s a life that will last ever so much longer than just life on this earth.

After all, like grass, we are only here for a very short time. And He showed me yet again through His word that while I am here, when I have Him, I will sprout, I will overflow, I will flourish… like grass.

Flourishing

There will continue to be times, in this life, when I feel dry and barren, and like life is flourishing all around me. There will continue to be events that leave me desolate, parched, and empty. But with this visit to the most barren place of my life, the Lord reminded me that when those times come, His word – who He is – remains unchanged. He is always working to shower me with His rain of grace. And that, if I continue to look to Him, He will bring life out of whatever desolation I experience.

After leaving Dominic’s grave, DD2 reflected, “I miss Dominic. I wish he didn’t have to die.”

Dry, barren dirt on a grave.

Then, before I could respond, she continued, “But, Mom – we should be thankful that God gave him to us.”

Yes. Yes we should.

And for new grass on that grave that He continues to water.

2 Responses to “Grass on a Grave”

  1. Erin Brooks says:

    What a beautiful reflection from your beautiful daughter. She is wise beyond her years. I, too, am so thankful for Dominic. And for Ryder. I would do it all over again, even if just for that hour. How I appreciate time so much more now.

  2. Your Old Friend Liz says:

    Yes.
    Thank you for sharing this.

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