Friday, May 19, 2017

Picnics & Cemeteries

I've been promising the kids for  months now that when the weather finally gets nice we could take a little trip up the road to the hidden cemetery.  It's less than a mile away and it's tucked back behind old, overgrown trees.  It's quaint. It's cute and we explored it with compassionate eyes this afternoon. We packed a picnic and put on running shoes, because Emmitt's request was that we "take a run together". We drove to a closer pull out since our road is deadly and packed the stroller for Asher. He caught us off guard with his snores in less than 10 minutes and we spent several minutes strolling the old stones reading them together. 

"Mom, what's this one say?" 

"How old is this one?"

"When was he born?"

Most of the headstones were old. We brushed off some thick moss and did our best to read them. Tiny little headstones with just initials from the 1800's had been replaced with communal family headstones listing all their loved ones with birth dates and death dates. Babies. So many babies that just read, "infant of..." in fancy cursive writing. Reading each made me wonder what that day looked like for each family. One family we found had buried four, FOUR children all under the age of five, all in a different year, and the mother lived to be 95. I read it three times cause I kind of couldn't fathom it. Another family buried a six month old, a five year old, and then the wife died 17 years before her husband. I read them all to Madi and she looked at me with pained eyes, "Mom, that's a LOT of suffering for that man!" Yeah, baby, I whispered. That's a lot of suffering. 

We kept wandering and we talked about whether these people were with Jesus in eternity right now. I looked at each one and I hoped they were. Some of these people had lived a couple years, some had lived decades, a few had rounded off a century, but they all had one thing in common. They certainly weren't here anymore. I thought about my restlessness with this world and I wondered if they were ready to meet their maker. 

Cemeteries give a weird aura. You either enter their presence and feel the urge to turn and run or the desire to wander and wrestle, almost like you're acknowledging that it will eventually be you on the other side of the dirt. I can't say I've ever minded them. Strange, maybe, but the longing to know each story has always drawn me in. I think that's how Madi felt today too as we read through the names and talked about the years. 

Finally, we found an old oak, threw down the blanket and pulled out the goods. We chatted and ate and the kids pulled down maple leaves to make brooms and fans and we wandered again before we left.  "This place sure is sad, Mom," Madi commented, but she never wanted to leave.

I agreed. There was certainly an element of sadness to it. But we talked about how that's real life. Finding joy, but always acknowledging the hard. The sad. The brokenhearted... because they are all around us.

That's what really keeps us hoping, right? Hoping that all the pain and sadness and heartache around us will someday be gone, truly gone? Hoping that there must be something better? 

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Indeed, C.S. Lewis, indeed.

Oh, also, there were BEES! :)

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