Cemetery Soup for the Soul
Friday, September 16, 2011
As I walked under the arched gate that leads into Oakwood Cemetery this morning, I felt a calmness come over me. Somehow, as soon as I pass through that arch I feel like I'm in a bubble. There isn't anyone in there...you couldn't find a groundskeeper if your life depended on it (good thing your only danger is the ever-pending Zombie Apocalypse).
The cemetery is so large that you can't even really hear traffic. There are huge oak trees all over the property. They wind through the gravestones and all along the pathways. Gravestones date back as far as the early 1800's. Some of them are broken and can barely be read. One day I plan on doing a rubbing of one of them to see if I can make out anything on it. People put those markers there so someone like me generations from when they died can see that they did, in fact, live. I'd like to honor that and remember them.
If you've ever read or seen the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this is what this cemetery reminds me of. It's a gem that no one recognizes because everyone associates cemeteries with sadness. For me, my time walking in the cemetery has been one of reflection. I reflect on my own life. What my legacy will be, who will one day be walking past my gravestone and what they will think. I think of the living. I think of my grandparents and how I need to spend more time with them. When I see a gravestone with a couples marker on it, and the husband has died before the wife, I wonder what would happen to me if the love of my life died before me.
Today, I sat under an amazing magnolia tree (because, after all, a good, Southern cemetery isn't complete without some magnolias...steel magnolias of course) next to a gravestone that read Overcash. This tree was perfect. I spotted it on my first round of the cemetery and decided I would stop for a rest during my second round. It literally looked as if hundreds of people had sat with their backs against this tree. It was perfectly smooth and rounded just for me. I'm going to borrow a camera so I can take a picture of this tree. Although, I'll have to wait for good cemetery weather. Cemetery weather is when it is cloudy and a little bit chilly out. Just like today. Perfect cemetery weather. As I sat next to Mr. and Mrs. Overcash I wondered how many people had sat next to them before me. Odd I know. I wondered if any of their family members come to visit them. After all, Mrs. Overcash died in 1974. And then I wondered, who will be sitting next to my grave 37 years after I've died? I've already decided that there will be a giant tree and a bench. And definitely a water fountain. (I don't know how the groundskeepers would feel about me turning on those random spigots to drink out of) It will have all the luxuries of a....well....I don't know what to compare my awesome grave site to. But it will be epic.
Not only do I reflect on my life, I also have time with God. I haven't had enough of that lately. It's very calming to be completely alone in a serene setting and talk with God. I didn't realize that being outside would make me feel closer to Him but it has. I talk-think everything with Him while I'm there. I pray for the strength to make the right food choices and to make Him proud in what I am doing in my life. I pray for my family, the souls of the dead and their families. I also pray that I will get into grad school this year. Third times the charm, right?
Anyway, the cemetery has done more for me than just give me a place to walk. It's good for so much more than that. However, I do love the fact that no one is there to judge me while I'm working out. It makes it so much easier to want to go work out knowing that no one is there.
I hope that everyone can find such an amazing place like I have that is as good for your body as it is for your mind and soul.