I spent the afternoon in a grave yard yesterday. You see, near Josh’s school is a large cemetery so after dropping Josh off, Kaleb (who was on my back) and I went for a walk. I was hoping that he would nap while I walked so I chose the cemetery for it’s quiet space. At the beginning of our walk Kaleb was excited, pointing to the trees and birds and yes, even the grave stones (rocks to him). As we walked on he finally fell asleep and I was left to wander around the cemetery alone with my thoughts. At first I simply read the inscription on the grave markers, but as I began to read them I began to think about who these people might have been, how they died, who they loved. Some of them had been killed years ago, with wives or husbands who still live today, some were children, some were young men who died at war, and some were old and ready to go. I couldn’t help but feel the weight of the little one on my back, this is my next generation, this is my legacy. Long after my body has grown cold and I have gone home, these boys will be here on earth, living and breathing and all that they will have of me is what I have taught them now and in whatever time I have with them. What will they say of me, after I am gone?
This was not a morbid afternoon, it was quite beautiful really, the sun was warm on my shoulders, my son softly snoring on my back, the birds were singing and in a city that is too often filled with the sounds of sirens, car horns, train wheels screeching and the regular hustle and bustle the cemetery was quiet (I have the urge to say ‘dead quiet’ here… but won’t). The chance to think, to have some quiet, was nice. I don’t get a lot of ‘quiet’ with the boys in the house and thinking lately has been tough. However, yesterday as I contemplated my life, my kids lives, and the marks we would make on each other I also began to think about what come next. I was passing by the marker of one man who died at the age of 36, survived by his wife and two children, he will always be remembered. Clearly only tragedy takes someone so young, in the prime of life, illness or accident, or murder it doesn’t matter, at 36 he was just too young to be gone. I was touched, and then I looked to the top of the stone, and there, above all the other inscriptions was this ‘I know that my redeemer lives’ and I smiled. Instead of guessing about how he died, or wondering about the mark he left in the lives of his loved one, I couldn’t help but think ‘what’s he doing now?’.
I guess in spending a quiet afternoon in a grave yard I was reminded in a fresh new way how wonderful it is to know that nothing here is permanent, not the joy or the laughter but also not the pain and not the suffering, because our redeemer lives and we are on a journey home. I think to the past, back when a family moved west to start a new life. When they said goodbye to their families it was final, they were not likely to meet up again, much like a death. Yet, they were going ‘home’. Is this not what death is like for the children of God? We say goodbye to those we love and though painful it’s also a wonderful adventure, heading home! Not a new thought, certainly an old idea but it came alive for me yesterday as I walked and thought about all these lives gone by. This is my moment to live, to love and to enjoy the moments I am given, but it’s not going to last forever so I need to choose how those moments will look for the boys that will carry my memory with them after I am gone. I need to choose what kind of mark I will leave now because after I am gone my chance is gone. I need to live today, like I want to be remembered tomorrow.