Some of you may find the subject of cemeteries to be…well a little morbid… while others reading this blog post can probably relate. TV and movie directors shoot graveyard scenes all the time so they’re part of our culture and familiar to most of us.
Yesterday my mom and I spent the day together visiting family and friends; the ones that are still with us and the ones that have left us behind. Yes, we enjoy visiting cemeteries where our loved ones, acquaintances and friends are buried. This is a very “normal” and comfortable activity for us as we have been doing it since I was a little girl. One of the cemeteries where my relatives are buried is very old and historical and filled with gigantic magnolia trees. My dad is buried there and on his birthday after he passed away, I visited in solitude with a single red rose and placed it upon his grave. There were a lot of unresolved issues from the past between me and my dad when he died and on that particular day I stayed a long time and poured my heart out to him about it all. I actually cried more that day than I did at his actual funeral but I walked away with closure about a lot of things and a sense of peace in my heart towards him that I had never felt before.
Cemeteries feel almost like the sanctuary of a church to me; very quiet, spiritual and peaceful. In fact one of my very first blog posts was about our family’s Easter sunrise tradition of gathering on a mossy hillside in a village cemetery surrounded by nature to celebrate our risen Lord.
The other cemetery that we visited is the one that I used to carry my children to when they were small because it had a duck pond and they loved to feed the ducks. The ducks used to nest in the surrounding bushes and occasionally we would find their eggs and see their babies after they had hatched. The ducks appeared to be gone yesterday however. Several of my favorite people have been laid to rest there; some surprisingly within close proximity to each other. My former in-laws whom I loved dearly are there and yesterday we discovered the marker of the couple that sold us our river house. Immediately memories of the moments we shared and the blessings that these people were to us in our lives came flooding back to me. It reminded me of what the dates on a tombstone should really represent; not so much when a person is born or when they died but the dash in the middle should remind us of the type of life they lived in between.
When it really comes down to it, it’s all about the dash between the dates; what we choose to do with the life that God gives us between the time we are born and the day we are reunited with Him and our loved ones in heaven. Ironically the inspiration for my blog this morning came to me during my quiet time. The author was writing about cemeteries, grave markers and epitaphs. It caused me to pause and think about how to sum up a life in just a few words including my own. The example was given of King David. In the end his greatest legacy was not necessarily killing Goliath with a slingshot, being in the ancestry of Jesus Christ or a fugitive running from Saul, but of being a man after God’s own heart. Writing this blog and reading that article has prompted me to consider the legacy that I wish to leave behind and how my life will be summed up in a eulogy, hopefully many more years from now.