Reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections (link is external).
A forgotten country cemetery sits atop a windswept hill not far down the gravel road from where my parents used to live. While living at home, my attention was always drawn in the opposite direction of that cemetery.
Direction - School - Friends - Events - Parades
In the other direction was “town.” School, friends, athletic events, parades, concerts, restaurants, church—everything exciting was in that direction. But as the years passed and occasion afforded a brief visit home, my interests were strangely drawn toward that quiet graveyard. On occasion I would walk there and stroll among the tombstones.
Bordered by a shallow creek and cow pasture, nestled among a few gnarly trees, this little cemetery is one lonely place. I never saw another person there. There is no marquee, driveway or parking lot. No flowers, shrubs, benches, sidewalks or manicured lawn. Nor are there any impressive monuments—just simple, weathered tombstones rising in obscurity from the prairie grass. Some of the stones, as if too weary to stand any longer in their struggle against time, have been toppled over and rest on top of the graves they mark.
Laughter - Soul - Stroll - Cemetery - Graveyard
I find that laughter mends the soul. A stroll through a forgotten cemetery strengthens it. In a quiet graveyard the distractions of life are minimized and the pace slowed momentarily. And as we walk among the dead without distraction from the living, some of the delusions that typically cloud our perspective in a noisy world are temporarily lifted.
Walking through a graveyard I am reminded, first, that life is short and fragile. No matter how long we live, our days on earth are few and not one of them passes with a guarantee of another. The Apostle James wrote: “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and...
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