We decorated Rebekah’s grave last Saturday. The boys pushed holiday signs into the half frozen ground-plump snowmen and happy penguins. Friends hung a wreath with a large glittery bow. A purple snow globe with a friendly polar bear completes our decorations. It looks festive. As festive as a grave can be, I guess.
It’s not enough. It’s not how Rebekah would decorate it. She did nothing conservatively and if the roles were reversed and she was decorating my grave, it would be covered with large red bows and everything winter glittery. It would sparkle and glow and probably be seen from my husband’s plane high in the sky.
My daughter isn’t here. She isn’t here to decorate or even see our efforts. Why then is it so important to me that we make her grave sparkle? Why buy accessories, shopping til I find the ones she would choose?
Maybe for the same reason that I go into her room and rearrange her toy horses. The same reason I change the clothes on her American Girl Doll and carefully braid her short blond hair. The same reason I have this urge to throw an armful of her clothes into the washing machine just so I can fold them and put them away.
My heart longs to take care of her, to listen to her chatter, to buy her Christmas gifts, to brag about her latest drawing or her perfect handspring.
I have all this love for her and no where to go with it.
Maybe it seems like a strange thing to say considering the four boys I have filling my house with joy and activity (and tantrums and tears). I have two adorable nephews who can melt my heart with their big brown eyes and boyish charm. The life around me keeps me going.
Love is a strange emotion. It never runs out. As I shower my boys with attention, praise, and snuggles my heart is crying out to do the same for her. I want to pull her onto my lap and stroke her silky hair. I want to yell at her for goofing off and spilling yogurt down her shirt or laughing so loudly that she wakes the baby.
My love didn’t end when her life did. It keeps going, searching for the heart it was meant to fill.
I have Paul’s words from Romans going through my head.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”
As I ponder these verses, a thought begins to form. If my love for my daughter is this great, coming from me, an earthly, flawed woman, then how much greater is our Creator’s love for us? If my love continues to flow even though death has separated us then His love must continue to flow for us through all the times we disobey. His love continues when we are happy and when we are sad. His love surrounds us when we need strength and comforts us when we are broken.
I do not have a conclusion to this post, nor do I not know where to go with all the love I have for Rebekah. I do know that I have caught a small understanding of God’s love. A love that is greater than mine because it is impossible to be separated from it. And in my moments of doubt, in moments when my pain is too great for my own feeble heart and I become angry, He reminds me of Paul’s words and what it means to be loved by Him.