(written by Tresta Neil in 2018, published in the Millennial Instructor, rock edition, Richard Erickson was her friend and mentor)
Richard, a student and teacher of the Old Testament and a wordsmith, loved the idea of “raising an Ebenezer” for his wife. He retold the story of Adam and Eve when Eve was called Adam’s “helpmeet” He told us about how the word “ezer” in Hebrew means “help” and the word meet translated into Hebrew is k’enegdo, meaning “fit for”, or “opposite.” Eve was not designed to be exactly like Adam, she was designed to be his mirror image or opposite, possessing the other half of the qualities, responsibilities and attributes he needed. Adam and Eve were complete equals together, “Just as my wife and I are. I am not complete without her. Today, I will raise an “Ebenezer” for my “ezer k’enegdo”.”
The term Ebenezer means “stone of help.” Richard continued the memorial by recalling the time when the ancient Israelites were feeling God had abandoned them. Samuel, the prophet told them to stop worshiping idols and to serve God only. They set a time for everyone to gather and renew their vows to God. At the same time their enemies also gathered to attack them. The Israelites were outnumbered and fearful. They pleaded with Samuel to pray to God for help. God answered their prayers by confusing the Philistines to the point that the Israelites were able to chase them out of their land. Samuel erected a large stone to celebrate that victory. He named it “Ebenezer” or “stone of help” as a memorial for all of Israel to remember God helped us. (see 1 Samuel 17:12)
Richard reminded us of the word “remember” and how often it is spoken of by God in the scriptures. He wanted us to remember his helpmeet and the good she had done in the world. But he also wanted us to remember our Savior and the help he has given us, he stated, “When we remember how God has helped us in the past we have hope he will help us in our future.”
The Ebenezer for Lori was erected in 2007. That same Ebenezer was remembered again in 2011 when Richard Erickson died. He had raised his own Ebenezer by designing and installing his wife’s headstone.
Richard ended the memorial with, “When we remember our own spiritual experiences and how they have guided us, we are raising our own Ebenezer one spiritual stone at a time.”