Updated: Aug 22, 2021
I like to drive by cemeteries from time to time! Yes I do! Do not be taken aback or disturbed by my confession. And before your imagination runs wild or your emotions get the best of you, let me explain why.
Yes, cemeteries, quite naturally, are synonymous with pain, misery, anguish, hurt, sorrow, and the list of negative emotions goes on and on. Understandably, they traumatize and terrify most people. They silently and frigidly bear witness to the anguished cries of those who have interred the mortal remains of persons they love (or revile). To me, all those things are true. But also for me, they are significant in other ways.
Often, in the hustle and bustle of life, I simply lose my way. I lose perspective of what (and who) is really important to me. In the misty fog of confusion, who I am often slips into the obscurity of the mundane. Without this needed clarity, my life feels so blurry, often detached - with no determinable mission, focus, or objective. But somehow, an occasional slow and intentional detour through these statuesque mausoleums, in some way, is a strange elixir for me. They slap me back into reality with an unrepentant, callous force. The sting of their invisible fingers across my sullen face is as violent as a jolt of an electric shock to the body. They speak loudly to me - screaming and yelling at me to wake up, get out of my head and get over myself! Now!
The cemetery, quite frankly, is a place of lost hopes and dreams, unrealized potential, unrequited love, missed opportunities, broken relationships, even a place of justice and retribution for some. While for others, it is the memorialization of circumspect lives well lived - accomplished, full, impactful, meaningful lives. Whenever I take in the magnitude and tangible power of that reality, I am reminded of how blessed and fortunate I am to be alive - to have realized once unimaginable dreams, to capitalize on priceless opportunities, to have the love and support of family and of those I consider bona fide friends. I am often left wondering, what really is there for me to complain or to be anxious about! I am still here and I got the power right in the palm of my hands. This power is simply choice. While I am alive, I can choose my path. Unrepentantly, I can blaze my own trail - drink in every precious moment till I'm intoxicated by every last drop of happiness. Why must I waste one more minute on things that do not matter? Will I wait for someone else to memorialize me on some cold, nondescript epitaph? Or will I write my own story with every breath I take and tell it with my own voice?
The cemetery points to the intersectionality of mortality and life. But for me, my choice is unmistakably clear and resolute. I stand on the side of life and living - giving it all I got, right here, right now, this minute. Where do you stand?