A while back, I traveled a narrow, winding road that follows a flowing creek in a sparsely populated rural area. Remnants of old farmsteads remain along the creek bank; reminders of the work and effort which men and women of bygone days put forth as they tried to make a living for themselves and their families. Anytime I see these old houses and barns, I can’t help but think of the excitement of the first homesteaders. For them that land meant freedom, opportunity, and the possibility of realizing a dream.
One can’t help but wonder how many kids have lived in that house? How much fun did they have fishing in the creek or roaming the wooded hills behind the house? How much labor went into cutting the trees, building the log structures, constructing split rail fences, and clearing the land to make it tillable? What were their fears; indians, wolves, epidemics, floods, a long winter with short supplies? What were there joys; weddings, babies, the birth of livestock, baptisms?
That day, as I continued traveling the road, I invariably encountered several cemeteries. Some were small family lots surrounded by rusted iron picket-fences. They contained only two or three weathered granite headstones as markers for those buried within the enclosure. A couple of cemeteries contained a hundred or more stones which surrounded older church buildings.
Like the old farmsteads, each of these cemeteries, whether small or large, served as reminders of life, but more importantly of the inevitable destination of the living. No matter what our existence here is like, whether that of an adventurous pioneer, a poor sharecropper, an enterprising land owner, a wealthy entrepreneur, or a famous politician, we all are destined for the same fate.
Therefore, what matters most is how we use this life to prepare for the time when we leave it and we take our place in the ground along-side those who have traveled this road before us.
“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! (Psalm 39:4)
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Do you wish to follow us