Feel free to grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and join our conversation about life and faith, the things that make sense and the things that don't. I'll raise some questions and themes along the way, and you can chip in with some of your own. What we're after here is perspective, some practical wisdom about life, and maybe a little light for the journey. Life is a pretty tough test for everyone, so we might as well compare notes and prepare for it together.
(Originally published, June 27, 2022)
It’s early Monday morning in Lexington, Nebraska. In a little while, Suzanne’s family will gather in a family cemetery to return to the earth the ashes of her mother and father. Donna passed in 2017 and her remains have been carefully preserved waiting for her husband, Graham, who passed in December, to join her in eternity. This morning the old cemetery becomes their last residence in this world, the rich, black soil made sacred by their lingering presence, their lives mingled in death as in life.
It's not a sad day, but strangely satisfying. To lay to rest these two who have lived so long and well, to reflect on the blessing of their lives from generation to generation, and to find grace and peace for all the wear and tear of family life through the years. It’s all good. It is well, with Graham and Donna and the rest of us, too.
Suzanne and I will hurry on back to Virginia soon, but there will always be a sacred spot, a family place for us in rural Nebraska. I’ll bet you have such a place or two. You may not visit often, perhaps flowers on Memorial Day or a birthday or anniversary. In our transient culture, we move around so much and so often, we can easily lose track of our home places where our roots touch the soil and remind us who we are and who brought us into this world, all of the loved and lost.
Nothing puts life in perspective quite like revisiting our roots. A cemetery can be a most life-affirming place for us, if we’re paying attention. A time to be born and a time to die, that’s the truth of it. We do well from time to time to take stock of our lives and to pray with the old psalm, “Teach us to number our days that we might get a heart of wisdom.” Amen to that.