A graveyard is a good place to gain perspective on life—in all its tenses and tensions. The past tugging at the shirt sleeves of the present; the future hiding behind gravestones; today’s dirt and dust hiding yesterday’s ashes. In a cemetery, all of life can be rolled into one picture: A collection of markers that signal the lives of remarkable people.
Cemeteries also call to mind the question that heads this entry. To voice the matter differently: What will mark your life—whether in a burial ground or elsewhere—so that future generations will know what and who you were? Or even this harder question: WILL you be remembered, and for what?
Your legacy could be summarized in an epitaph on a gravestone, but it may also be revealed in other ways and places: In a family history you have collected or written; in treasured artifacts that characterize what has been important to you; in the things you have constructed, built, begun, maintained or improved. Certainly you will be remembered by virtue of the people whose lives you helped shape. (The teachers, friends and mentors who shaped me always stand tall in my memories!)
Being remembered may not seem important—you’re humble and know your place in the cosmos. But think of the folks who will live on after your passing into life eternal: How they will want to hold dearly onto what was important and valuable and godly about you. How they will try to move past grief into resolute living-like-you. How your life’s markers will keep you strong in their memories, and insistent in their determination to follow in your footsteps! Because you love these folks, you’ll want to develop your markers now.
In that way, your coming past tense will be their present and future tenses!