I think I’ve only been in a cemetery once.
About a month after my friend from college passed away, I went to visit her grave. I remember standing over her plot (she didn’t have the gravestone yet) and having mixed feelings. She was a Christian and I wasn’t sure why I was visiting her grave. I was talking to the ground, but wasn’t she listening from above?
To give the others that were with me a moment to themselves, I took a short walk. I was staring at the various tombstones in just the surrounding area. There were some from that year, there were some from 100 years ago. One lasting thought that I had from that day was: Gosh, there are a lot of dead people.
And that was only 1 section of 1 cemetery of 1 town in 1 state in 1 country. There are indeed many countries with many states with many towns each with many cemeteries. Gosh, there are a lot of dead people.
I remember having a conversation with Theresa about how I want to be cremated. The amount of money it saves (possibly 10% of the cost of a ground burial) and the fact that I don’t believe my earthly body will house my soul for eternity lend me toward that conclusion. But another factor is that I don’t want people to associate my eternity with a fixed locale on earth. That’s not where I am, nor should that be where their thoughts of me are drawn.
I can’t drive by a cemetery and wonder that their very existence is society’s inability to deal with death. When someone dies, we don’t know how to deal their demise so we preserve their bodies. And we preserve them in a way that gives them a so-called peaceful eternity. (When, sadly, this is often far from the truth). Ironically, how we deal with death often reveals our inability to deal with death.
People, let’s face it. We all die. You, me, and the old guy in Green Mile. But we’re not entirely prepared to deal with that.
Whether you get buried or not does not matter. That’s not my point. What I’m trying to say is that people are not proactive about
their death thinking about their death. Death, by definition, is not something you are able to react to. Instead, anticipate death, embrace the inevitability of it, and react now.
We all need to deal with death right now. And cremation or burial is not the way we deal. That’s just a symptom of the fact that we are unable to deal appropriately. Jesus promises a way to God in heaven:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~ John 14:6
Deal with that.