Monday, November 16, 2009

Dim Witted, But Still Shining

To me, shining is about creating memorable moments where others see only the mundane. I hope you think today's post illustrates the point in the same way I do... despite another DIM WITTED mistake for which I, Claudia, am so famous (you'll see soon enough).

Part of what makes this story fun is that it started a few months ago.

My five year old son, Matthew and I were on our way to Borders Bookstore late one August evening. We travel a street called Hall-Johnson to get to the bookstore and, in fact, we must travel that same street to get quite a few places around town. Blue Bonnet Cemetery is a sprawling, 200+ acre plot of land located off of Hall-Johnson. You can't miss the expansive property, because vibrant flowers pepper the rolling and well manicured hills of these grounds.

Each time I passed the cemetery last summer, I grew increasingly aware that one grave site in particular had a steady stream of visitors. I use "visitors" loosely, because the gathering was often 12-15 people, no matter the time of day or day of the week. This gathering of people, sitting in lawn chairs, playing board games, enjoying a picnic, and engaged in conversation, were filled with the same kind of joy you might expect to see at a neighborhood park or on a local town square.

The sight was notable.

Part way through the summer, Matthew and I began speculating, "Who do you think is buried there that he has so many people visiting so regularly?" He thought super hero, I thought a local figurehead. He insisted the grave site must be a secret passage way to a different world and I countered with the idea that maybe there was some sort of marathon going on to see how many consecutive days someone could be found sitting vigil.

In the end we both agreed, whoever it was, that he was lucky to be so loved.

Spontaneously, one August evening on our way home from Borders, I suggested to Matthew that we put an end to the mystery by stopping and introducing ourselves to the family and friends. We did...

Matthew, with wet hair and fresh pajamas and me, after a long weekend, tired but curious. We got out of the car a little nervous, but intent on getting the chance to learn more about the person who meant so much to so many. In the end the family was thankful for the chance to keep the memory of their beloved father, brother, husband, uncle, and friend alive. We asked what made him so special and gladly they used it as a chance to reminisce about the good old days when Vima was physically on earth.

As we were leaving, Matthew and I took a final look at Vima's grave stone. We made special note of the day he was born July 14 and died on November 15. Once back in the car, we made a pact - return on November 15 with flowers and a note. Vima shined and his energy and goodness is still felt through the loved ones he left behind. To live a life in such a way that so many people still gather in community is something worth striving for or, at the very least, something worth celebrating.

Yesterday was November 15. Matthew and I both woke up knowing exactly what we needed to do and excited about undertaking our task. It has been the source of discussion since August, periodically checking in with one another to make sure the other wouldn't forget.

It felt good. We got there at 2:08, flowers and card in hand. Matthew and I were prepared to sit with family members, but I for one was relieved to see we managed to arrive when no one was there yet (or still). I didn't want to intrude on their family time, but Matthew and I wanted a chance to thank Vima for the life he led and for being an inspiration even in his death. Matthew also wanted him to know, "It's hot here today." and "Life is pretty good here."

Before leaving we visited a few more grave sites. Matthew would read the birthdate, each time asking how old they were when, "they went to heaven." It was both sad and happy for me. Sad because I saw headstones for far too many young people and I had to imagine the devastation those parents must feel. Happy because, for thirty minutes, Matthew and I slipped away from the typical chaos of our happy and vibrant home and did what the parents of those deceased children would do anything for - sat quietly on a bench, talking, and genuinely enjoying the simplicity of being in each other's company.

Vima shined in life and, long after his death, people like Matthew and I are still benefiting. Let there never be a question as to whether the extra effort of shining is worth it.
Shine on.

Signing off until tomorrow...

14 comments:

heather said...

You make me smile.

Dim witted...not so much.

Robin said...

I didn't get the dim witted part either. But I really enjoyed your adventure.

Misty said...

I must say...they broke the mold with you! Thank you for being you and what you share with us daily.

Kat said...

Good post! How cool is it that his family loved him so much to just hang out at the graveside? I can only hope that I am missed that much someday.

Peggy said...

Wow, wow, wow!!! Claudia you are just amazing!!

Two things... I'm running out of yellow ink on my printer.... do you think it has anything to do with SHINE?????

2nd.... check out my blog today... I'm talking about Little Significance, but in a big way.... http://prdesigns.blogspot.com

Katie @ Highlowaha said...

You never cease to amaze me! Thanks for shining!

Cheryl said...

Yes. I hope you will explain why you think you were dim witted in the comment section because it went over my head, too.

I think I may have seen that family while driving past the cemetery. Now I'll know their story when I drive by next time.

Vima lives on. :)

Anonymous said...

Because she brought him a "Happy Birthday" Card on the day he died.

Cheryl said...

HA HA!

Well, then I'm dim witted, too.

:)

Cheryl said...

I forgot to comment on this...

Did you see that arrangement on his stone? WOW!

Heather @ highlowaha.com said...

thanks Anonymous...I actually caught that but I still don't think that making a mistake when clearly doing something so special could make anyone dim witted.

Gage Paine said...

Claudia - just found your blog - it's delightful. But what got me to write is that it can't possibly be your tenth anniversary!! How did that happen? Are you sure it wasn't just last week? Hope it was a happy day and best wishes for many more happy years. Peter and I celebrate 20 next week -and that's not possible either.

All the best

Gage

Kelly McMichael said...

Ok, you got me with this one. I actually have tears running down the cheeks.

We usually visit/clean the grandparents graves this time of year but don't spend time out there.

I don't know that I've ever heard of anyone doing so like this.

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...

Gage! So glad you found the blog. Please come back and visit. It's right up your alley - creative and inspiring.