David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” [2 Samuel 12:22-23 (TLB)]

 Shari A. will love, love and love Michael, Andy and Steven A. Now, always and forever!! I love you all sooooo much!!! Love always, XO Mom XO
P.S. Always keep love, faith and hope alive in your hearts now and forever … and remember … kindness and forgiveness matter! (2015)


Even in state parks, people still want to leave their mark or carve their initials and those of their sweetheart. The message above, however, is a bit of graffiti that causes me pause every time I see it. Written in black marker, it is under a railing, on an upright board, at a remote wildlife viewing platform. I recognize the script because I’ve seen it elsewhere in the park. In the woods, on another trail, is a dead tree marked with a large heart and the words “You are loved!” In a different place, the same woman asks her children to remember a picture they took from that spot.

Perhaps this woman was playing a game with her children and her messages were part of a scavenger hunt. In that case, I can only be annoyed at the way she defaced park property. Her words, however, seem rather melancholy to me so I don’t think they were part of a playful game. Every time I walk out to that viewing platform, I wonder about her heartfelt note. Who is (or was) that woman? Why did she feel the need to write her messages in such out-of-the-way spots? Are there more messages hidden elsewhere in the park? Have her sons ever seen them? Why didn’t she say those words in person? Does she still walk in the park? And, the most disturbing question of all, was that her farewell?

It’s troubling that those words of love to her boys remain on pieces of wood hidden in a park. Parental advice and expressions of love are meant to be said, not written and left in obscure places. I only saw this one when I knelt down to tie my shoe.  Although she tells her children to have faith and hope, I wonder if she has lost them. There seems to be a sense of regret in her messages—regret for things done or left undone, for words spoken or remaining unsaid. Unfortunately, it’s easy to become a prisoner of the past. Nevertheless, the past can’t be changed but the future can! David had plenty to regret when his first child by Bathsheba died; the baby died because of David’s sins. Rather than wallowing in the past, however, after mourning his loss, David chose to embrace his future and move forward with his and Bathsheba’s lives.

When Jesus met the woman at the well, he immediately knew of her troubled history and, when the bleeding woman touched his robe, he knew of her illness. If only it was as easy for us to know what anguish hides in people’s hearts. Have I ever passed by this woman at the park? If so, did I offer a friendly smile and warm “hello” or did I just speed by her? I remember earlier this year when I walked in the bird sanctuary with a troubled woman who needed to talk and then think of the stranger who strolled alongside my husband one day and spilled out the poignant story of his wife’s betrayal. Did they have no one else to hear their stories? Every time I see that woman’s words, I wonder if she had someone with whom to talk. Of course, we know that she had God, but did she know it? When she wrote the words “You are loved!” did she know that God loves her?

Heavenly Father, there are so many troubled souls we pass by daily. Guide us so that we don’t inadvertently add to their sorrow and troubles. Give them hope for the future and help them know they are not alone. Let them experience your love and forgiveness.

And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. [Romans 8:28 (TL)]

Listen to my pleading, Lord! Be merciful and send the help I need. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me, O my people.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” [Psalm 27:7-8 (TLB)]

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