I lost her. It’s not all that uncommon these days for me to misplace things, but my grandmother in her grave?! My suspicious hairs got raised this summer when I finally visited my “Bobchi” (Polish for grandmother) in the last place I saw her and she was nowhere to be found.
I thought I remembered it well.
Did someone take her? Move her? I’ve read the stories about the Arlington Cemetery mishaps…
Through a comedy of errors, I had contacted the wrong cemetery, got the wrong name and found, you guessed it: nothing that resembled the headstone of Wanda Buck. (Yes, just like the name sounds, my big, strong grandmother had planned ahead and purchased her own headstone that she kept for years in her basement. I guess she got a good deal on it 😉)
And that is why, this second time around - after getting all the other info straightened out, I was once again wandering around a cemetery - with little to show but frustration. Where did they put her? I was looking right at the schematic – albeit a tiny map on my phone through smudged reading glasses.
My friend Karen, who is the kind of friend who will go to a cemetery not just once, but a second time to help you find a loved one, and I, asked a few passersby but no one seemed to know how the place was laid out. We tried again, starting back up at the top of the hill and going a little slower, more carefully. We looked and looked, but finally gave up and headed to the car.
“We should pray,” she suggested, “then go look one last time.” She’s also a woman of dogged determination.
So, that’s what we did. Hand in hand, we asked the Lord to show us the hidden things, to give us eyes to see, to help us find her.
One last time, we descended the hill. I peeled to the left, she to the right. We determined to look at every plaque on the ground and every headstone again. Within a minute, she shrieked and called me over. There, under some dry grass sat Wanda’s marker “BUCK,” that she shared with her sister.
We hugged and cried in delight – finding this lost treasure. We fell to our knees and began brushing off the stone. We thanked God in that way that only comes when you know that you know that he helped you.
(The mystery of the headstone vs. this flat plaque goes unsolved, but perhaps when Bobchi started living in apartments, somehow she gave up the big marble headstone.)
And as we drove away, so light and lifted and encouraged by answered prayer, I couldn’t help but be reminded that God doesn’t just want to be some far off help, He wants to be a very present part of each day, of each decision. The Bible talks about lost treasure and lost sons and lost love. It’s not uncommon to feel that we have somehow been lost in our faith, even while going through all the right motions. It happens. Sometimes we get so comfortable with God that we misplace our need for him. We know he’s there – just as I remembered Bobchi’s resting place - but bits of dust and dirt have accumulated.
Maybe we have even felt the nudge to go and find the place we last saw him.
If you feel that way today, I encourage you (myself included) to call out! The temptation is to believe that something or someone has “stolen” your ability to find your faith, but that’s simply not true. It may be a matter of asking: “In the day when I cried out, you answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3
It may take a little digging; it may take a friend to help you see it through; it may take opening up your Bible and reconnecting; but God promises:
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord
Jeremiah 29: 13 – 14