Saturday, February 25, 2012
One reason I love Cleveland, TN
When teenagers grow up in a small town they often can't wait to leave the small town USA behind and head to a bigger city. Sometimes it is because of what all they think the bigger city has to offer- things they think their small town can not provide them. In some areas this may be true. But oh the things a small town can offer that many overlook. I saw one of those things displayed this past week.
I watched a small town come to pay respects to a 7 month old baby girl- some that didn't even know the family. You see small town mean family. It means you come together to help this grieving family in whatever ways you can. I saw people wait hours to tell this family they were sorry for their loss, they are praying for them, and many more expressions of their kindness. As amazed as I was at the many that came that night............nothing prepared me for what I saw on the day of her funeral.
It wasn't the first time my eyes had beheld this scene since living here, but for some reason this past Wednesday it had a profound impact on me. As I drove to the grave site, it wasn't the firefighters and firetrucks that were along the way- although it was touching. The site I beheld that left me speechless was that every single car stopped and pulled off the rode. Some may be thinking well for a few cars that is understandable. It was not a few cars- it was many. It was not a short distance either- it was miles. Every single car, truck, semi- even a jogger, stopped to pay respect to this little girl and her family.
I was trying so hard to hold it together- emotionally. I mean after all I am suppose to right? I had tried to limit my crying spells to my home - although every staff member at church was so sweet and sensitive as I too grieved this precious little buddy. As the funeral processional approached the church- the tears flowed freely. I was overcome with emotion that my little friend Delaney Claire would never run and play inside, I would never give her a lollipop or hear her say hello when she came to church. The Lord gently and quietly whispered to me that she was seeing Jesus face to face and would run and play on streets of gold. How thankful I am for His grace when my heart is so heavy and broken. It is times like these I am thankful His grace is sufficient.
Cleveland you may be growing and may not even be considered small town USA by some but please don't every change. I love who you are and how you embrace everyone as family. You are amazing!
Please don't stop praying for my little friend Delaney's family as they walk through very difficult days.