Every month or so when I go to switch out the wreaths at the cemetery and lay a new one for Lizz and the boys, I try to make a wreath that conveys a memory. I also choose photographs that I have of Lizz and the boys that convey the memory and take them to Office Depot in Wolf Ranch, Georgetown, Texas. One young girl (probably in high school) was helping me mount them on colored paper and was going to laminate them for me. As we were placing the pictures, she asked me what I was using them for. I am always unsure what to say when people ask me questions like that, but it usually means, I tell them the story of Lizz and the boys and how they live in heaven. That response prompted her to apologize and she was clearly uncomfortable because I think she thought she had caused me undue pain in asking which is never true! I always love people asking about ALL my children and grandchildren to include the ones that live in heaven! I told her there was no need for her to apologize. I ended up having to leave them with her for a bit and told her I had more errands and would be back in an hour or so. When I returned to collect the photos and pay for them….she handed them to me, smiled and said they were already paid for. When I insisted that I wanted to pay for them, she told me they had been paid for and absolutely would not take my money. Well….the streams of tears started to come. Here was a young girl working nights who paid for my photos to be laminated. She did something that would show kindness and honor to me, my daughter and grandchildren. Even though this maybe a small act to many, it was such an incredible kind act and blessing to me. I left the store in tears. Not tears of sadness….but tears that someone would do something so kind.
The other story I want to share is one of the times I had left the Salado cemetery. It was on a Saturday afternoon and the stores on Main Street were still open. As I was driving by Magnolia’s (LOVE THAT STORE!), they had the most unusual and gorgeous sunflowers in the front window of the store…..and of course, I had to stop and look at them to see if I could make an arrangement for our home. I decided to purchase four of the sunflowers (four to represent Lizz, Fischer, Ben and Hayes) and while I was at the checkout, the manager made a comment about the sunflowers and I told him how my daughter loved them and why they were so special to me. I didn’t tell them who I was talking about, but I didn’t have to. The manager said: You are Lizz Dowdy’s mom aren’t you! I told him yes. He then began to tell me stories about how Lizz would come in with the boys (OK….does that frighten anyone else? Ben and Fischer in Magnolia’s??????) to make a payment on a table which would become her dining room table. She had seen it in the store and fell in love. So, the manager allowed her to put it in “lay away”. When the cashier heard that story, she said: Wait here! I’ll be right back! And she stepped out to the gallery that was next door. She returned with a hand drawn picture of a sunflower. She told me that she also loves sunflowers and draws them all the time and wanted me to have one of her drawings. I was so incredibly touched and blessed.
I guess my point in sharing this is that we are presented opportunities everyday to bless and show acts of mercy and kindness to others. Now due to this grief journey, I am trying to see through these new eyes that I have been given because of this experience. I have decided that I want to be an example of hope to others that also journey along this path. I want to demonstrate the promise in my life that God’s grace is sufficient and he is an amazing God even in moments of such tragedy.
So, my encouragement for my blog readers is to not be afraid to step out and show someone an act of kindness. It is through these actions that we get to serve a big God and have opportunities to provide healing (like my examples) and yet also allow them to be blessed (like the wonderful lady that gave me a sunflower drawing).
I hope everyone is given an opportunity to bless, show kindness, grace and mercy today and everyday……and we all have the courage to act on those opportunities.