(Orange, Texas)

June 1, 2013

Graveyard secrets

John Warren
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Graveyards are interesting places to me.  I have found myself living next door to the church graveyard twice.  The first time was just outside of Caldwell, Texas.  I happened to inherit the church dog as well as my quiet neighbors.  It was a little unsettling at first when Blackie, the dog, would bark at night facing the grave yard.  After several nights of this, usually late on a Friday or Saturday night, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a powerful spot light.  I didn't want to have to get close but I would shine the spotlight across the field toward the grave markers.  To no avail I saw nothing.  But the dog seemed to hear and see things that I did not and kept barking.  Soon I found that on the other side of the cemetery there was a dirt road leading to my neighbor's home but just off of that little dirt road in the woods was a family cemetery frequented by high school students out on a date.  Mystery solved.  

Your life can be changed by what you find in the cemetery.  Several years ago while on my way to Ashville, North Carolina I toured the Vicksburg National Cemetery which consists of graves of soldiers who fought in the Civil War.  They have a registry of those from the North and South.  I stopped to look for my Grandfather's ancestor who according to him died fighting for the South.  But to my surprise and great humor he fought for the North.  My Grandfather in honor of this relative had a framed print of the Confederate Generals which hung above my Grandparents' bed all 72 years of their marriage. All the while honoring the wrong side!  

You can find a chuckle or two from the markers you come upon as well.  It seems the English have interesting grave markers, my favorite has the usual name and dates inscribed but then below those you find these words, “I told you I was sick.”  Well, I guess so.  

Some people look at the cemetery as your “final resting place.”  But for the Christian there is no final resting place but instead there is a new and a whole life free from the aches and pains that held us down.  And the markers that are left are on the world and the loved ones you came across in your life.  It is more important to know that you are leaving a mark on the world, that your life reflects the love of Christ.  It is in that mark that you make that takes you from this life to the next.