Almost every Sunday since then, the kids and I have parked in front of the bench. We say hello to Steve, not because it's a burial site but because we're especially reminded of his spirit and presence there. And Cooper and Katie sit, and I take a photo. (My Facebook friends know this well -- I post a photo every Sunday that we're there. You can also find them on the "happy" Damm blog.)
Today when we arrived, the kids and I were dismayed to see that someone had marked all over the bench with chalk.
I rubbed off as much as I could with my bare hands (the photo above is after "cleaning" it).
Cooper and Katie found a corner on which to perch, so that their church clothes wouldn't get chalky. We took a photo, grumbled some more about the chalk, then walked inside for the 8:30 a.m. worship service.
As we sang and prayed and listened, my heart changed toward that chalk that at first agitated me.
1. It's chalk. When it rains -- please, let there be rain soon -- it will wash away.
2. Chalk on clothes isn't a real tragedy.
3. Those scribbles look like the work of a small child. Wouldn't Steve want children at church, and wouldn't he want them to grow up living the words from Micah 6:8?
By the end of the service, I was no longer irritated by the chalk. I was comforted and curious. Who stood in the Damm Spot this week? Who may have read Steve's name for the first time or for the hundredth time? Was there laughter when the child was scribbling on the stone? Did someone read and then ponder Steve's favorite verse?
What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?