An odd gift leads to enlightenment

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 15, 2011

It happened last month, but I still laugh when I think about it. My aunt, Judy Duhon, was visiting and was excited to tell me that her son, Travis, had delivered her Christmas gift to the cemetery. He bought her a bench to place in front of the family tomb. No, that’s not a morbid gift. At least Aunt Judy and I don’t think so. It’s not unusual for either of us to visit the cemetery to bring flowers or water the plants.

My family has also accepted something else about me. Whenever I have a major decision to make or if something is really bothering me, I head to the graveyard. Why? Because nowhere else do priorities

seem so clear. No other place so obviously illustrates the brevity of life on earth. As I gaze at the graves of those who have gone before me, I realize the importance of the decisions I make, for they will determine the legacy I


As soon as Aunt Judy left, Elise and Victoria announced their idea for dinner. Poboys. “Sure,” I agreed, “But first let’s go to the cemetery to see Aunt Judy’s Christmas gift. Travis bought her a bench.”

“I hope it’s not on cinder blocks when we get there,” Victoria said. Elise and I were a little confused by her comment, but we were hungry and in a hurry, so neither of us took the time to question her.

As we drove to Reserve, Victoria was given the job of calling her brother to get his dinner order. Her end of the conversation left Elise and I puzzled. All we could hear was “We’ll be home as soon as we go to the cemetery to see Aunt Judy’s Christmas gift … yeah, Travis is hiding it there … a car … Mercedes … shrimp, fully dressed, got it.”

“What in the world were you telling Geoff?” Elise asked.

“Not much. He just wanted to know what kind of car Travis bought Aunt Judy.”

“Victoria, Travis didn’t buy her a car. He bought her a bench.”

“Ooooohhhh,” she said, “I thought he bought her a Benz.”

It was a simple misunderstanding and a story easily corrected. My only question was, “Didn’t you and Geoff think it odd that someone would hide a car in the cemetery?”

“In our family?” she said, “No.”

Good point.

And I guess it’s right here that I’d like to point out something else. While hurried conversations (at least the conversations in our family) can lead to confusion and misinformation, weighty matters, matters of life and of death, should be dealt with quite seriously. If you question 20 people about God, Heaven or the existence of either, you’ll likely get at least 20 opinions. I’ve chosen to read, study and trust the Word of God as the authority on such matters. I’m not going to follow the latest spiritual trend or mystical advice from celebrities. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Those are the words by which I live. One day, should descendants of mine think of me as they stumble upon my name etched on a tombstone, may the life I led clearly reflect the Jesus I love.

Ronny may be reached at