Is it morbid that I’ve always been fascinated by graveyards?
When I was little, my grandpa and I would visit the family cemetery. Those trips are some of my fondest memories. He didn’t care that I spent hours exploring the oldest corners, rubbing moss off 150-year-old stones to see what they said. He’d follow along and tell me stories about relatives. Recent and long-forgotten. One far-removed aunt even died in a carriage accident—a carriage!
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be one of two things. A writer or an archaeologist. Listening to my grandpa talk about respecting the dead—no matter how long they’d been gone —is probably what paved my course in one direction over the other.
Years later when my husband and I bought our first home, we lived off of Cemetery Lane in Milford. Riding my bike or walking through the grounds, I soon found favorite new stories. The founder of Milford was buried in an inconspicuous plot along an overgrown tree line—he had fought in the Revolutionary War. Another set of tombstones from the 1800’s told the story of a woman who lost everything in the span of 5 years. Twin daughters died, followed by a toddler boy the next year and another little girl soon after.
So much history. So many unknown stories. Every person there lost to the present.
It grounds me. It reminds me that my vibrant life will soon fade to a passing curiosity, my children’s children forgotten. Weather-worn stones, feeding someone else’s curiosity.
But to Jesus, I am—and will always be—ever present.
We cry: Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. (Psalm 144:3-4)
He answers: Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him. (Luke 20:38)