Written by: Barbara Ann Hall
I thought I heard my name whispered in my ear,
“B a r
b a r a,” sending chills down my spine! It was violently windy there in the cemetery causing the branches of the trees
to tremble and my hair to whip against my face. “It was probably just a whistle on the wind,” I thought.
I wasn’t in the cemetery to visit anyone in specific. I just enjoyed walking through and wondering about the people
buried there. Who they were, what their lives were like, and if anyone still visited them.
Often I would choose
a grave that looked as though it was no longer visited and clear away the overgrowth from around the stone. Then I would clean
and polish it and leave a bright bunch of flowers to cheer the restored resting place.
As I slowly walked
from headstone to headstone, I noticed the slight edge of one peeking out from beneath a large patch of overgrown thickets.
“Ouch!” I thought to myself. “Do I really want to tackle that one?” I knew myself too well to even
think I could just walk away, so I sat down, tied my hair off my face, laid the bouquet of daisies I’d brought gently
in the grass beside me and pulled a pair of garden gloves and scissors from my handbag. I always brought them for just that
Carefully I began to snip at the thorns. That’s when I heard it again,
“B a r b
a r a,” whispered ever so softly in my ear, again sending chills down my spine! I sat paralyzed for a moment or so before
I once again considered it to be only the wind.
With a few more snips, I was able to pull the thicket bush away
from the stone. Then I worked at pulling back the weeds until all four edges were clear. With that done, I was able to start
brushing off the imbedded dirt from the stones surface.
When all was finally cleared away, I noticed that the engraving
was very well worn. All I could vaguely make out, as I traced my fingers over the name, was Stanley H. The only other carvings
on the stone were that of two dates, but only the second of 1806 was recognizable. “I bet you haven’t had anyone
bring you flowers for many years, Stanley H.” I said out loud as I poured water into his cup and added the daisies.
As I sat there polishing the stone, I wondered about Stanley. “Who are you Stanley H?” I whispered out
loud. “What was your life like?” When I looked up, a young girl had come to visit the grave next to Stanley’s.
When she noticed me sitting there, she said, “Hello, I’m Heather and this here is my grandmother, Becky,”
pointing down to the beautiful headstone in front of her. “Nice to meet you Heather, I’m Barbara and this here
is Stanley.” I said smiling at her.
“I never noticed him before,” Heather said with a puzzled
look on her face. “That’s because his stone was covered over with thickets. I just finished clearing them away.”
I told her. “Ah yes, I remember them now. I never realized there was a stone there.” Then she looked at me with
a sad look in her eyes, “I’m sorry,” she apologized, “had I realized he was there, I would have cleared
the stone myself. Is he a relative of yours?” “No. I just met him here today.” I answered, not quite thinking
of how that probably sounded. Heather just looked at me.
I explained to her that sometimes I just enjoyed
visiting graves that looked as though no one visited any more. “Me too!” she exclaimed. “This over here
is Leonard,” she said pointing to the grave right of her Grandmother’s, “and there next to him is Russell.
I often bring them flowers. Gram has always been such a blessing to her neighbors and I believe that is what she would want
me to do.”
Walking just a few graves over, Heather stopped at a grave and said, as she added water to
the flower cup, “This man has no name on his stone. It only reads; son, husband and father. I bring him flowers every
time I come to visit Gram. It helps me feel better about no one thinking enough of him to have his name added to his stone.”
“Perhaps the person who buried him did not know his name, or perhaps chose not to put it there for a reason,”
I said. “How sad, why would anyone choose not to?” she asked with tears in her eyes. “Maybe they wanted
to keep his name a mystery. By showing only son, husband and father, we don’t know exactly who’s buried there
because he could be any one of millions of people that fit that description. His identity will remain forever concealed to
those who didn’t know him, but to those who did, I’m sure knew his name.” I tried my best to comfort Heather,
but it hadn’t quite worked, so I continued my effort. “Just like all who know you, know your name is Heather.
If you were one day buried with only what you were written on your gravestone; daughter and granddaughter, for instance, to
those who knew you would still know your name was Heather and to all who didn’t know you would never know your
name, but that still wouldn’t change who you were.”
After she thought about that for a moment she
said, “You’re right. It wouldn’t change who I was. I guess I never really thought much about it before,
but there is such significance in a person’s name. It’s the one thing that gives us our individual identity within
the world. But, even when people don’t recognize us by our name, it still doesn’t change who we are!”
When she said that, something flooded my heart. “Think how God must feel when people don’t know Him.”
I said. “He has who He is; Father, Son and Holy Ghost, written for the world to see, and to those who know Him, know
His name, but to those who don’t know Him, know not His name.”
I continued, “It’s like
when Jesus asked Peter if he knew who He was, and Peter responded you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus’
response was, “and you are Peter, and upon this rock I build my church”.
Heather's face lit up when
I said that and she exclaimed an “Amen!” Then she said, quite seriously, “The revelation is in the name.
There is no other name under heaven by which one must be saved. I see it so clearly now. Upon Peter’s recognition of
who Jesus was, came the revelation and the truth that Jesus built His church upon! We must know Him and He must also know
us! He stressed the importance of His name when he told Peter, “and you are Peter”.
I were so uplifted by her revelation that joy filled our hearts! Together we praised God and glorified his name. Before saying
our goodbyes, we agreed to meet there again the next afternoon, each with a bouquet of flowers, our garden gloves and scissors,
and an abundance of praise on our tongues.
I gathered my things and said goodbye to Stanley. Then, with a special
love in my heart, I walked over to the grave of the son, husband and father and added one of Stanley’s daisies to his
flower cup. That’s when I heard it again, my name whispered upon the wind, “B a r b a r a”. But this time,
I was quick to respond, “Here am I Lord, and you are Jesus!”
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