Written by Steven Liechty
"You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth." - Deuteronomy 32:18
At the conclusion of a graveside service, I left the family to have some more time for silent prayer after they had buried their loved one. My car was parked about a hundred feet away. I backed out of the historic cemetery hoping that I would not distract them as they lingered.
Suddenly I heard a terrible scraping and squealing sound as my car lurched into the air and landed with one tire off the ground, spinning. "Oh God, please, please, please tell me that I did not just run over a gravestone," I prayed. And to my relief, what I had gotten stuck on was not an historic grave but some kind of enormous rock.
But then I got angry. Why would the cemetery put an enormous rock at their entrance, just large enough to tear up a car but too small to see from the rear view mirror? When the gravedigger approached me, I demanded to know what that rock was doing there.
"It's a decorative boulder," he explained. "We have it there because people kept running into our sign."
"Well, I wasn't going to run into your sign. I can see your sign! That boulder is invisible. It's a trap, a total set up. Look at my car."
He eyed me suspiciously and then said, "No offense, Rev, but you want the truth here?" I nodded and the old man continued. "In all my years of personal experience, the minister who backs into the decorative boulder is probably going to back into the sign too. The decorative boulder is a lot cheaper."
Was I being set up for failure that day? Or was I being protected from a bigger failure by a smaller one? I'll never know. But it makes me look at my failures in a different light. They could be worse.
God, I pray for better visibility. Amen.
Lillian Daniel, author of When "Spiritual But Not Religious" is Not Enough, has a chapter in the new anthology, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most. Follow her on twitter @lillianfdaniel.