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Cemetery a place to ponder life
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I'm rarely alone but on Saturday I found myself in that rare scenario. It's becoming less and less rare, on second thought, as our children are either gone from home or the two that are still at home are busy with jobs and friends. My wife was away for the weekend with a friend to the coast.

I decided to load up my bicycle into the pickup and drive to Knights Ferry to enjoy the scenery. The hilly terrain gave me a chance for a great workout, plus I got to see the quaint covered bridge and historic village.

I ended up at the cemetery, high up on the western fringe of town. I parked my bike and walked around, with the electric-sounding hum of insects buzzing the hot air overhead. I know it sounds weird but I'm intrigued by cemeteries. It's not just a burial spot but a virtual history lesson. If you've read local history like I have, it can be a neat challenge to pick out the prominent family names. I'm blown away by some of the older tombstone structures. One was taller than me and topped with a marble building-like structure. I believe that gentleman died in 1882, meaning this marble structure has withstood extremes of Valley seasons for 126 years.

I was especially drawn to a modern grave. It stood out like a sore thumb. While the rest of the cemetery is brown with dirt and weeds, this spot is alive with green. Someone installed an irrigation system there. Wind chimes dangling in the branches of the oak tree overhead play a faint and lonely melody. Lawn ornaments stand sentinel over the grave. The tombstone features a photo of a young man who was born in 1973 and died in 1992 - very young indeed.

Underneath six feet of dirt in this peaceful spot are the remains of someone's loved one. I wonder just who is putting in this much care but my hunch is the boy's mother.

It's just a matter of time when this grave will start going unattended like all the rest in the cemetery as this loved one fades. It's amazing to me at how short we're here and how quickly forgotten we become once dead - despite pledges that so-and-so will never be forgetten. Time has a way of erasing memories. After all, how many of us know the very grandparents and great-great-grandparents that we came from? And with each generation, eventually their names let alone their faces fade into obscurity.

Even dead presidents end up forgotten. As I walked the cemetery I was made aware that all of these people were once living. They had hearts and minds. They had houses and jobs, spouses and friends. They also had their problems: chief among them that time is short and bodies fail. Some lived short lives while others long ones. Even the long ones truly didn't live long at all. But alas, they all died.

A depressing thought? Depends on how you look at it. In this problem of all this darkness comes a ray of hope. Faith comes into view as the ONLY bright spot.

I'm not unlike many who have come to understand the truth in Scripture. That man is doomed without God. That God loves his people. And that he has prepared a place for them in the afterlife.

The Bible talks a lot about the fact that we are all eternal beings in that death is not the end of things. That all those people buried in cemeteries are now in another dimension unseen to humans. The words in 1 Corinthians contains a great statement about the fact that faith in Jesus ensures everlasting life. "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

There is another passage that is particularly intriguing and thought provoking. It's 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 and it reads: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him - but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God."

Gosh, the days are sure short. It might behoove us to ponder the things of God in order to find life.

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