Perhaps I’m a bit odd. Maybe not. The truth is old cemeteries have always piqued my interest. I don’t know why. There’s what I call the gold mine of cemeteries in Louisville, and it’s easy for me to spend a whole day nosing around that one. It’s simply fascinating, and it is divided into sections by demographics (war era, for example) so that it presents itself as a smorgasbord of interest.
Cemetery stones can, and do, often say a lot about those at rest underneath them. Reading some of the inscriptions can provide one with a bit of history, or a bit of wit, or perhaps even a bit of veiled sarcasm on occasion. I’m never quite sure what I’ll find when I start walking around one. One of the things I have consistently noticed about smaller older cemeteries, is what is seen in the photo above (it’s of a local cemetery). Do you see it?
When passing by a smaller older cemetery, my eyes always get drawn to what I call “the bully on the block”. That would be that one stone or monument in the cemetery that sticks out head and shoulders (or more) above all the rest therein. I always wonder about that one. Why is it so much bigger than the rest? Was that one the first one here? Is it about a more famous, influential, or important person then the others? Then the mental slide begins–“did whoever pass on have an oversized ego or was it the ones who buried him who did?” and similar questions.
Stones, plaques, markers, monuments and whatever in cemeteries are, to me, all about memories and legacies. Why else would they exist? Certainly not to hold the casket underground. I think that in most cases they are used as reminders of memories and legacies (which fade over time), and in some cases, a bit of historical data.
Personally, I think that God is much more interested in what kind of spiritual memories and legacies we have left behind when we go on to glory than how we might show it after we die. I’m not so sure He has any interest at all in “the bully on the block.” Underneath each of those stones, plaques, markers, monuments and whatever is the dust. Remember “dust to dust”? There it is. Our impact as Christians isn’t under the stones. It lives on in the minds and hearts of those lives we interacted with and touched during our stay here on planet earth. It does so because we chose to live in such a way that it would happen.
Will you be leaving a legacy made of stone, or a legacy from the heart?