Finally, and then some. On the way to Dodger games, I always pass by a large cemetery in Los Angeles. At first I would look past it in my hurry to get to the games, or just stare blankly as I snail through LA traffic. Then, I read somewhere that Jerome Howard (Curly from the Three Stooges) is buried there. Being a Three Stooges fan, and he being my favorite), I instantly wanted to go there for a visit. Not thinking, Forgetting that it's a Jewish cemetery, I went on a Saturday and found the gates locked. Ah, it's the Sabbath! Then, after a few Dodger day games, I went by to find the gates had just been locked. Long story short, I finally remembered to go on a weekday during open hours.
Upon arriving (TMI warning), I really had to use the WC (for you in the front row, that means I had to use the bathroom). I decided to hold it, as it seemed to me I might be disrespectful. But, I came across a groundskeeper and asked where I could go. He pointed to the giant mausoleum in the middle of the cemetery. I parked and found my way in. Upon entering, I walked under a large sign and it's words rang straight to my heart in exactly where I was.
My mind switched from trying to find Curly to thinking about God's promises to the Jews. I was walking through a large crypt with graves upon graves of Jewish people. I didn't recognize any of the names, but I just noticed how quiet it was. There were empty chairs and benches around. My eyes would sweep across a name, and I could hear the promise, "the Lord will bless His people with peace." He has not given up on them and never will.
After wandering around a bit, I wondered who some of these people are. Some were near 100 years old when they passed. Eventually, a guy walked by and showed me the way to Shemp Howard's grave. I didn't know it was there.
Finally outside, I made my search for Jerome's grave. It took me a while to find it, and I kind of imagined what it would be like to meet him. Would he feel bothered? Would he laugh if I accidentally knocked over a grave stone?
I noticed all the other graves in how they had small rocks placed by visitors, and I noticed how I had no rock. Quickly I looked down and found a rock. After a few loops in an area, I found Jerome's grave and quickly I felt bummed out. But, I noticed upon his grave were rocks spelling out, "Nyuk nyuk nyuk!" It seemed like a fitting tribute, but I wanted to wish him with respect as more than a stooge. I don't pray for the dead, but I thanked God for the humor He gave through Curly.
It was hot out there and I was cooking. But, I was feeling touched by the Lord's promise and I began to pray for Jews, in wanting them to know the promise of God. It felt a bit strange praying in front of Jerome's grave, but it just felt right. It's my hope for Jews to know their God and know His peace, His love, and His presence. He will not abandon to the grave. Shalom!