My own ‘past’ reflects what has happened within the limited sum of my years here on Earth. Yet the ‘past’ within the body of Christ goes much farther and deeper.
Under a clear, cold winter sky my feet crunch through leaves that fell in October. I walk a path leading me to a spot in the short, golden grass under old oaks that is well back from the more prominent visiting areas. The pioneer cemetery here speaks a story of love, valor, loss and the living of daily life. Above all, it gives evidence of how their lives connected to one another. The grave markers tell stories from 100 to 150 years before I stood here on this ground. These were lives lived in the hope and rugged quest for a better life. Days of work and toil, joy and celebration. Children and summer, winter and times of separation.
History is told on markers of granite and stone about women named Rosa or Nora and their lives coupled with Leroy or John. What is not spoken here are the detailed legacies of the children or the day John went to fight on the distant front. The markers do not tell of how Nora planted her first garden on the homestead with the help of a young daughter who had endured the journey West.
These people experienced life no differently than we do; doing as best they could. It was a lot of work just to survive one day at a time. Planting and harvest, putting up hay for the livestock and splitting wood for the stove. Adversity came along with the needed rains. I feel the heaviness of what they endured even though they found it ‘normal’.
And then each one came to the end of the trail, almost in mid-step. One step in soil and the other ready to set foot in rest…
Leroy, Rosa and the children have all passed from this world.
They each stepped into new life in an instant; to everlasting joy in Christ.
You were dead but now arise. Take your breath and come to life. Christ will bring us back to life. That is His promise.