Born April 16, 1977 – Died January 25, 2011
Born June 22, 1916 – Died October 6th, 2001
Born September 21st, 1983 – Died October 16th 1983
With each step new dates came into sight, and a new story was told by pictures, objects, letters, left on the cemetary plot. I couldn’t help but wonder what the real story of each life was… Seemed strange that even though everyone of these people lived very different lives, probably very different lifestyles, came from very different economical backgrounds, and families… they all now are here, on the same 20 acres.
Some seemed to have lived long lives, some lived to have children but not to see them grow up, and others still had such short lives I can only imagine the very emotional & lasting impact they had on those whom loved them. One thing they all had in common, though, was that each one left you asking” why?”. Why was one given such a long life and another so short? Why were two people who lived such long lives remembered so differently – one was obviously visited frequently – covered with memorabilia, letters, and freshly placed flowers. While another, seemingly forgotten, had just a piece of wood with some dates painted on it pounded into the ground to let you know there was, indeed, the remains of someone there. Some had beautiful verses or memories engraved upon their headstones while others had no headstone remaining, just broken pieces scattered in, what was now, an overgrown, unkept, area… there was no way to tell who was lying there.
My husband and I have always loved visiting old graveyards, you learn so much by walking through them. So much history, so many stories, and each one represents a life lived.
I can’t help but let my mind wander, as I walk from headstone to headstone. I wonder, how I will be remembered? Will I be remembered as someone who was selfish or selfless? As someone who accepted people or rejected them? As a helper or as one who only did things if it benefited them somehow? I wonder, when people reflect on my life, will they see me as a person who eagerly sought God? Who loved God with all of her heart? Who loved her husband and her children with a love that had no limits?… hmmm.
It began to turn my thoughts, once again, to what truly matters in life. Not the things, not the titles, not the status, not the money. I heard a friend share recently “there are two investments in life that will last: investing in your relationship with God & investing in your relationships with others.”
Every opportunity to reevaluate life, is a blessing. It gives me a chance to live my life backwards in a sense. To live now, today, how I want to be remembered then. Choosing to be a good example, to encourage people, to care, to love, to give my all. Knowing, full well, that each day that will look different.
As we leave the cemetary, I am reminded that life is a gift, it is not guarenteed. You never know how long you will live, noone does. I am so thankful for today, and for one more day.