A large wrought iron gate guards the blacktop lane that traverses through a vast well-manicured lawn. Inside, large granite tombstones and small white monuments give notice to the lives of men and women who accumulated wealth and success during their mortal life on earth. They stones stood out to continued to resonate their status after death.
A large fountain spews water around a statue of a wistful child holding a bouquet of flowers. The serene landscape and austere setting glistened with peace and respect.
Farther inside the cemetery, a scattering of flowers can be seen nestled against smaller headstones. Small American flags left over from Memorial Day flutter in the breeze. Some gravesites received extra attention giving notice that there are people on earth who still remember them. A remnant of people are still alive who knew their voice, would recognize their face, who celebrated birthdays, holidays and anniversaries in their presence. They were loved. They are remembered.
On the other side of the town, sits another cemetery. It isn’t pristine. It doesn’t have a fountain that works. Old cement posts resembling small tree stumps dot the edge of a gravel lane and are linked together by a large rusted chain. Scattered headstones weathered by rain and snow seem dark and forbearing among the aging oak trees nearby.
There are no fresh flowers. Only a few plastic ones can be seen sticking out awkwardly from a vase. Walking through the lonely yard on a windy, overcast day, I look down closely to read one of the old plates at my feet.
HANSON, Joshua. Born in September of 1874 and died in April of 1925. May he rest in peace.
Like an ancient chorus that rose in volume when the curtains open, the tombstones seem to sing a mournful song, “Please remember me!”
There is nobody left to tell their story, to remember their faces, to recognize their laugh. Did they receive their reward? Were their pursuits on earth worth it?
Some believe that life simply dissipates into nothing once we are dead. Life itself becomes pointless, a cruel joke, an evaporation of matter tracing its roots back to that moment when life formed by chance billions of years ago. Others believe that souls are reincarnated into another life form. And others believe that eternal life awaits for all people and each soul will be properly rewarded based on the good they did and the life they led.
In the context of an eternity, our life can be looked on as just a wisp of breath that dissipates in the cool morning air and quickly dissolves into nothingness. Yet, our mortal life matters.
In this span of life, no matter how short or long it may be, the answer to what we think our purpose in life will be determined whether we are conscious about it or not.
Physical death marks an ending. What will be your beginning?
Your mortal life is an opportunity to answer that question.
What is our purpose in life? What will be your story?
More importantly, how will you be remembered?
It’s one thing to be remembered by family and friends, but they will also be gone. It seems that it is far more important how you will be remembered by God.