I’m not sure how you feel about cemeteries, but I actually do my best thinking and reflecting anytime I find myself in a cemetery. Why? My priorities are quickly put in order, I realize we all have a limited number of sunsets, and I see firsthand the hurt one feels when a loved one is lost.
I recently had the opportunity to assist with a graveside service of someone who passed away untimely. Despite being strangers, those gathered in that small, quiet place not only had the love for the person who had passed in common, but we also shared the same unspoken thoughts of “what was, what is, and what could have been.”
As the service ended and everyone began to have side conversations, some listened and some participated in those discussions, I began to make my away quietly around the small area looking at headstones. Some dated back to the early 1800’s! As I scanned from one plot to the next, I found myself asking, “What happened to that person? Why did they die so young?” Or, “How do those parents endure after losing their children within a year?” I think, “How did life unfold for those who lived on for decades?”
While walking and talking, I had a short conversation with a gentleman I had known 20 plus years earlier. Now struggling to walk and remember, he told me he had lost his wife eight years ago and the pain of her absence was evident as he stared off towards the horizon.
My time in that cemetery was spent like my time in all cemeteries, quietly thinking about:
Love. We should love Christ by the life we live, we should love those around us, and we should love our family (John 13:34).
The shortness of life. Regardless of time spent on earth, time always passes quickly (James 4:14).
Preparing for death. We understand life will end, we can have victory over death (1 Cor. 15:50-58).
A life lost brought us together that day, but we will always share a bond. A bond that reveals we all have a void in our life from someone who passed on. We can prepare for these moments to the best of our ability and we allow our loved ones to live on as we preserve their memory. An inscription I found while at this service says, “You are no longer by my side but you are forever in my heart.” May we consider the brevity of human life.
South Green Street church of Christ