honor, memory, remembrance

Why Bother Reminiscing?

It is Memorial weekend which can mean different things to different people. For some it is a long enough weekend to take a trip to visit relatives. Others see it as the perfect time to get their boat out of storage and into the water. Then there are those who make a jaunt to the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of those who have died.

Nobody Leaves Earth Alive

“Nobody leaves Earth alive.” Those were not the famous lines from a movie, but 

rather from an intuitive young man. Once upon a time, I was a P.E. teacher for a little private school and often took the students to a nearby ball field to play kickball. One day, one of the students stood in the middle of the small park, arms outstretched, and declared in a loud voice this simple, yet profound fact; “Some day, we’re all gonna die.”

If you take a trip to a cemetery on Memorial weekend, you will witness this truth. Large or small, cemeteries are filled with the graves of dead people. Vases of springtime flowers, flags and pinwheels decorate the landscape. It is a beautiful scene and the air is filled with the fragrance of freshly mowed grass, lilacs, and peonies. 

Just yesterday, my husband and I made the short jaunt to the cemetery to visit our son’s grave. Elliott died in 1989 and is buried in a section of the cemetery designated mostly for children. Instead of placing a vase of flowers on his grave, I push pinwheels into the grass outlining his little headstone. We stood for a few minutes in silence remembering the briefness of our son’s life as well as our long season of grief. 

Standing quietly in a cemetery has a way of reminding me of the brevity of life. Sometimes, my husband talk about where we want to be buried. I’ve told him that even if we are cremated, we will still need to put our ashes somewhere. Though he doesn’t care where his ashes end up, I’m inclined to have our small box of remains buried at the cemetery. Then, I’d like to have a headstone to mark our spot, just so somebody might remember us too. 

But more important than recalling anyone’s life on Memorial Day, it is much more imperative to consider where we’ll go after leaving this earth, since none of us will leave it alive. 

Among the living, I’ve heard various statements of beliefs. Some believe in reincarnation, others think there is absolute nothingness. Still others say there is a place called the heavenly realm. I vote for the heavenly realm, and not just because it sounds like the best option. 

For believers, living forever in the heavenly realm is a promise as sure as anything else that has already been given to us. Along with counting on eternal life in an indescribable place, those who believe in Christ already possess some profound and present promises. We are made free from the fetters of sin, and can count on the internal presence of the Holy Spirit. Having a peace that surpasses all understanding is a wonder as well. Even with my limited knowledge and understanding about how my Creator works for my good as well as for my benefit, I can still count on the fact that he keeps his promises to me including the one about heaven.  

Why bother reminiscing? Whether you are traveling to visit relatives, launching your boat or putting flowers on someone’s grave, remembering that nobody gets off this planet alive might just be the best thought you can have. It could lead to seriously considering placing faith in someone who has already risen from the grave. 

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