This may prove to be a bit of a strange post, considering all the pictures were taken in a country grave yard.

As a child, I grew up only 1/2 a mile from this cemetery. Because we basically lived in the middle of no where, entertainment and outings consisted of going on "backpacking adventures" in the nearby gravel pits and strolls through the nearby grave yard. Our childhood adventures were only limited by our imaginations. The walks through the grave yard peaked my curiosity, imagination and sense of history.
I used to enjoy reading all the tomb stones, imagining who these people were and what their lives were like. All of the names and dates became familiar. So many of the last names still exist in our farming community. This cemetery is what is left of my pioneer history. They were the people who came out west to break the land, fight the odds, and make new lives for their families.

Because yesterday was Samuel's birthday, the kids and I (my hubby is on an adventure of his own right now) went for a drive to visit Samuel's grave.

Aili and Roman telling Silas about their brother Samuel.
We brought some tulips from our garden and a solar light to put next to his little head stone. I had hoped to re-do his headstone in honor of the 10 year anniversary. I would love to set the plate on a marble slab to get it up out of the wild grass further. I really love the fact that the cemetery is filled with original prairie grasses, sage and wild flowers but I would hate for his headstone to get lost under them someday.
Here are my kids exploring and running over to see the war memorial.
Maybe I'm strange but grave yards don't creep me out at all. I find them a fascinating bit of history. Maybe because I know they are only remains. Tangible markers to remember a person who was loved. The souls of the people who lived their lives have long since gone to their eternal homes.
My son Samuel's grave marker lies next to 2 sets of his great great grandparents, great aunts and uncles and will someday contain the generations in between. This is the new headstone of one of my great grandmothers buried here. She died 4 years before I was born, but because we visited the cemetery so often as children her name became very familiar to us. I love family genealogy, looking at pictures and learning about my history. It makes me think about the legacy of family, faith and strength that they left behind.

I told my kids on the way home that they have an amazing heritage. Generations of people who loved the Lord, loved their families and worked the land. My kids are a part of that legacy. That heritage belongs to them. With in an hour and a half drive, my kids have a grandma , a grandpa, two great grandmas, and a great grandpa. That is one amazing living heritage as well. That is a lot of family to love and invest in my kids physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I have beautiful memories of watching my grandma read the worn pages of her bible. The pages have been so used and marked that I knew it was more than just a prized possession. I remember sitting next to her while she read to me out of it's dog eared pages. I have precious memories of singing with her as she played hymns on the piano. She didn't just teach me about faith. She was faith to me.

I think the most powerful impact that strolling through a grave yard has is putting us face to face with our our own mortality.
Someday my gravestone, along with my husbands, will be set next to our sons. It will contain our birth dates and the dates of our home going. The two dates will be separated by a " - ".
The legacy we leave behind will be determined by what that dash represents. Will that dash represent years of brokenness and deception ? Will it represent a life lived in self gratification or the accumulation of "stuff" that we can't take with us?
Will our children remember us as a Godly heritage? Will they say "My Dad not only taught me about faith....he was faith....he lived it in every area of his life" ?

I realize how blessed I am to have a heritage of Godly generations before me. Imperfect people serving a perfect God. Faithful men who were committed to their families. Strong women who lived through trials with grace and tenacity. They didn't build fortunes here on earth but I'm sure they had some waiting for them in heaven. They didn't leave a legacy of material wealth but they invested in the lives of their children. That has produced a wealth of faith and unity in the lives of their grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.  

Many people don't have that heritage. Some may come from broken and fragmented families.  Some come from legacies of abandonment and abuse. Some don't have families at all.  I married into a family devastated and fractured by these things.  The effects of that broken legacy are far reaching and damaging.  We are doing everything we can not to let the hurts of past generations  affect us or the heritage we leave for future generations.

 Each generation can be the beginning of something beautiful. You can be the beginning of that lasting legacy. God loves nothing more than to bring beauty out of wreckage.

What are we doing with that dash between the two dates that will be on our own headstones?

Will future generations rise and call us blessed or will they shake their heads in pity as they attempt to clean up the mess we left behind? As long as we still have breath, we are able to choose or change our legacy... for the good or for the bad.  We each make our own decisions and will face the consequences of them.  The most important choice being, choosing to seek truth about who God really is, who we are, and how we come into relationship with Him.  Life doesn't end with that final date on our tombstone but our time to find truth does.  Not personal truth, subjective dialogging truth, whatever I find that makes me feel warm and fuzzy...but Truth.
 The sobering thing to remember is that our choices not only have lasting impact on us now and for eternity, but also on the generations that come behind us.  
Are we living in light of eternity? Living with eternity in mind makes living in the moment something meaningful.
Now if you'll excuse me I need to go take this moment to bake cookies with my son.

1 comment:

For His Glory said...

HI Carla! Thank you for stopping by and commenting I love meeting new bloggy friends :)...I have to tell you this post here is one absolutly beautiful...What is the legacy we are leaving behind? What do the years behind the dashes represent? Thank you for the heart evaluating questions and thoughts...

I look forward to following your blog :)