Sunday, October 28, 2012

Peaceful Autumn

Psalm 104:29

Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

This is the third post in my series of fall photos from around town.  My first one started off with some photos of squirrels that I took while shooting photos at Firestone Cemetery.  While shooting the large old growth maples, I ended up reading some of the gravestones as well.  Then I photographed a few.

Walking through a cemetery seems a tad morbid, or at least that is my general impression.  But it was actually kind of a thought provoking photo excursion.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

First of all, the cemetery is rather old, and I couldn't help but notice some old civil war soldiers graves.  It is always a solemn experience to stand at the grave of a soldier who fought for our nation.  I feel to pause and remember them at their resting place is one of the best ways to honor their sacrifice, and one of the few ways to really reflect and remember our history.

But there were also a lot a family markers.  Rows of family members buried side by side.  This one on the left was unusual, as it was a pillar with the graves going around it in a circle, instead of a row.

I was struck by a couple of the markers, especially this one for John Sturgeon.  I have a nephew about that age, and I was reflecting on the fact that the stone engraved his exact age to the day, honoring every day he was with them.   I wondered about how the boy died, and thought how sad that must have been for his family. 

The Ministry Of Tears
by DeWitt Talmage (1832—1902)
"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
  Revelation 7:17

Standing there in the village cemetery, I looked around and said: "There is father, there is mother, there is grandfather, there is grandmother, there are whole circles of kindred"; and I thought to myself, "Together in the grave– together in glory."

Together are they, all their tears gone. No trouble getting good society for them. All there, are kings, queens, princes, and princesses.

The Epitaph
By James Smith, 1859

I have often derived benefit from wandering in a graveyard; therefore, I never see a church, if the gate is unlocked and I have time—but I take a turn round the graveyard. Many a one has seen me thus rambling in a country graveyard, reading the inscriptions on the headstones, and then musing on them. Only now and then do we meet with a good epitaph. But I have lately met with one, a part of which I transcribe,
"Oh, that this moldering stone, may remind a sinner, of the mercy that may be found in a Savior."

This shared grave was one in a line for this family.  Again, I felt a pang of sorrow at the loss of these two babies.  But as I read more stones I had a curious sense of peace mingled with that sorrow.

All the stories and sorrows of all these people have been forgotten.  Their trials and troubles in this earth have long since been buried with them.  The sorrow of a husband at the death of his wife or of a mother losing her baby...their sadness is over, they are laid to rest, and all those burdens are gone.  The good or evil people did in their lives is passed away, the hurts they left, or the joys they in a sense it was rather a comfort to think that all the sadness is now gone.

It made me feel more appreciation for my loved ones, less stressed about all the big problems, and more joyful knowing that whatever troubles come, someday they will be tucked away in the earth and me and everyone else.  So fret less, love more, and maybe once in a while read some gravestones.

Genesis 35:20

And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.

No comments:

Post a Comment