Most every morning I walk my dogs. Sometimes I walk through our town's cemetery. When I was a child this might have scared me, but as an adult I find strength from passing through. Reading the monuments is truly an inspiration to the courage and fortitude of our shared ancestors.
I see where there is an old man, who served only two or three years of his life in the military, yet there is a proud reminder of his service written in stone. I notice many who died at an early age, several in some families, a reminder of how tenuous everyday life was and still can be. I see teenagers struck down at the beginning of adult life and old people who have lived long lives. There are markers that speak of heroism, kindness, and family. Some images denote the work or skill of a parent. I am reminded that death of a loved one, whether expected or unexpected, can be a heavy burden to endure.
At each of these gravesites, a hundred years ago or only days ago, people gathered in the heat of summer or the cold of winter to perform ceremonies to honor their loved ones.
I ask myself, how do we survive the loss of loved ones? From the beginning of civilization we have found comfort from a belief in God and a hereafter. Whether this faith has evolved out of necessity for survival, or is a gift from a loving God, man requires it to survive. It is this faith that gives us solace when we place our loved ones in the soil of the earth. Because of this faith we are reassured that our loved ones will be held in the arms of God until we join them.
It is often said there are no atheists in foxholes. I believe for the most part this is also true of funerals. If atheists are present I do not envy them, for their lot in life must be a lonely one.
Cemeteries are sometimes depicted in movies and stories as scary places; they are not. Sometimes they are sad places, but out of this sadness we find reassurance of faith in our God, and humanity's ability to survive.