Monday, November 17, 2008

The Friendly Neighborhood Cemetery

Spooky. Creepy. Eerie. These are words that I used to associate with graveyards, but since we have been living at a new home my perceptions have definitely changed. We recently moved across the street from a large city cemetery. At first I couldn't understand why people would take their children on walks through the grounds, but pretty soon my own family became drawn there because of the beautiful trees, birds, and abundance of squirrels.

Now, it seems as if we go on walks through the peaceful grounds 4-5 times a week and I often find myself reading the many headstones. I think it is so beautiful that almost every marker shows the deceased relationship to another. Simple and beautiful phrases such as beloved mother or father, noble son, cherished daughter, and loved friend are often the only writing that accompanies the names and dates. During my strolls I still have not come across a stone that really talks about a person's status or accomplishments. Not surprisingly, gravestones do not usually mark where the "richest banker" or individual with the "highest university degree" lies. In the end, it all comes down to what kind of person rests beneath the stone. Who will miss that person? Was that individual truly loved by their children and spouse? Did that person honor their parents and siblings? Will that individual be missed in the community and among their friends?

These walks continue to help me reevaluate where I am on my journey back to my Father in Heaven. I hope when all is said and done I will be missed for the right reasons and not forgotten because I devoted my energy to things that fade with time. Families are forever and the simple messages in the cemetery show that this is all that really matters in the end.

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