Isn’t it so easy to fall into pessimism? It is easy to doubt and wonder about the worst outcome. It is easy to just accept hopelessness. It is easy to throw in the towel.
But we have to believe there is an end to the tunnel. Light is around the corner. The exit is not too far away.
Even if we were not in the middle of a global pandemic with division everywhere, we need to remember the simple truth: this too shall pass. And last week I was again reminded of this in the weirdest place: a cemetery.
I visited this small cemetery, the LaBoiteaux-Cary cemetery, filled with gravestones that have become relics of the past. The people buried there died all through the 19th century (if my memory is correct) and filled with stories still seen to this day.
Many had the years, months, and days they were on the planet (one even had the hours as well). Some just had initials. Some had poetry on them. Some had information engraved on them of the person’s family, native home, and other things. Some stood. Some have fallen. Some were unreadable. Some of them had engraving that stood the test of time. I walked and read while being amazed at how old these gravestones were but continued to be a witness of the bodies buried beneath them.
Two of them bore witness to American Revolution soldiers. Two were over two centuries old. Some were for relatives laid next to each other. They carried their family name, and I was honored to be a witness to their deaths and lives so many years ago.
I was haunted by the number of small babies and children buried there. Multiple ones were from the same household. I can imagine their parents devastated at having to say goodbye to another lovely child. They stood right where I stood. They wept right where I stood. They said goodbye right where I stood. How eerie.
They must’ve continued to walk through the tunnel. They raised more children. They buried more children, but they continued to live.
There were two men who fought in the American Revolution buried there: James Keniston and Henry Deats. Keniston’s stone said he was an active soldier for five years. I can believe they both had days of hopelessness and of darkness like we all do. Some of those days were probably during a war that shook the world.
They continued to live. They continued to walk through the tunnel. Deats lived to be a 90 and his wife laid right beside him at the cemetery.
I do not mean to sound like a Hallmark card mixed with a motivational speech and a splash of a cheesy inspirational movie. But it is easy for us to not want to see light and just wallow in despair. But it is better for us to believe in the end of the tunnel. Hope is one of the most powerful feelings on this earth and it is always worth fighting for.
A cemetery became a place of hope for me. I was surrounded by stones marking death. I was six feet apart from caskets. But those tombstones taught me to remember how fleeting life is and how life is sweeter when we delight in knowing our dark tunnels are indeed tunnels. Tunnels with entrances and exits. Tunnels getting us to the other side. We just have to keep living and walking until we reach the end.
“Why do I set in silent grief
Since in this world theres no relief
I look to God who gave me breath
And triumph in the thoughts of death
My God is full of love and truth
He takes the aged and the youth
He takes them to his arms to rest
That they by him should all be blest”poem on Mary Nichols Cary’s tombstone in LaBoyteaux-Cary cemetery (circa 1841)
~ Kenedy M.