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A Graveyard Reminder:

January 16, 2011

As I walked home from work the other day in the pouring rain, drops pounding off the pavement and me I became my most thoughtful as I always do by the stretch of road flanked on one side by a graveyard. It has all the stereotypical atmosphere traits expected of a graveyard. …
‘the road seems to get darker as you approach, withering trees frame the edges, moonlight shines and glints off the grey of the head stones, shadows seem to loom round every corner, the rain falls that bit harder and I never pass another person on the pavement which creates that isolated feeling that any good graveyard needs.
Together with the rain and the fact that it had been a hard week at work, the gloomy visage of the graveyard could have depressed me. Instead, it intrigued me and does every time, everyday on my walk home from work I am caused to turn my head to the left and take a good hard look at it as I walk by.
‘So this is where we will all end up one day, this is where you will be one day no matter what you do today, tomorrow or what you have already done, in this quiet mainly forgotten bit of land. And this could be a disparaging thought to have each day if I thought about it in that way. But actually for me its a boosting thought it reminds me life is short and will end one day perhaps many years down the line, perhaps tomorrow so there is a lot of meaningful things to do and achieve before then.
It reminds me that we all enter this world the same and leave the same so really the things in the middle don’t matter quite as much as I make them mean in my head. It is immaterial whether everyone else seems to be achieving more, accomplishing their goals, living the dream life with the top-notch job, buying the sprawling country mansion, having the ideal relationship with thousands of loving friends to witness it all. Because…. in the end these superficial outward displays of how successful we are mean nothing, it is what is underneath it all.
Underneath the top-notch job is there quality of life- time to enjoy and reflect upon this remarkable world that we live in, behind the sprawling country mansion is there always a close family there each day ready to support the other come what may? And… as long as the ideal couple show how loving they are on facebook to each other does it really matter that they fight most of the time they see each other, and are thousands of fickle ‘sort of’ friends worth one real one who will celebrate with you when you do something great and tell you when you are being an idiot?
Underneath all this, when all this must come to an end like it will one day will people be able to say they have done something worthwhile with their lives, that there were mainly happy, that they became the best possible person they could become because if not then surely all this material acquisition was/is worthless and for many that will only be realised when it’s too late?
This sounds bitter…its not meant to be, I’m sure there are many people in the world that have these kinds of outwardly perfect lives and do truly amazing/meaningful things and are truly happy. All I’m saying is I think we have our measure of success all wrong and this causes our perception of how people are truly feeling/doing to be wrong because we assume all must be well with them because look at their fantastic lives how could anything be wrong?! And vise versa we look at people with hardly anything, the homeless, the destitute, the poor and pity them because we think ‘their lives must be so hard and challenging’ but their lives are often richer in ways that have become irrelevant in out material-driven existence.
I admit I am often material driven when I shouldn’t be and it is something I often need to think about. I’m just glad this opportunity is presented to me 5 times a week when I walk home from work and I’m given a graveyard reminder that I am here to do more and to worry less because in the end none of the hardships from the day really matter. It is the long-term way I live my life that matters.
PS. I will try (if I do not look to Odd and disrespectful to the dead!) and get a photo of said graveyard at some point so you can see what I mean,

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