The epitaphs on old gravestones can be fascinating to read, especially if you can find those from the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. They tell the stories of those lives now resting there. They help to bring the past into the present. There are lessons to be learned…
The house would have been fronted by a porch where they’d sit on long evenings, where they’d talk about their Lord and life, they’d tell stories and they’d sing while Pa whittled wooden whistles and Mama shelled a pan of peas. Grandpa and Grandma might live there too and maybe a hired hand. Life was hard but life was good and they knew both love and peace.
I can see them around the dinner table, hands held, heads bowed for grace, thanking God for all their blessings; praying for strength and courage and the wisdom needed for the days ahead, praying for their neighbors, a sick child, a wayward soul and above all God’s will.
You can feel the good around this place; though I’m sure they had their struggles and sorrows in their past. Even though I know there were tragedies they faced I think they faced them with faith. You can learn a lot from headstones. Their story is written in words, etched in stone, on their epitaphs.
The stonewall that once marked off their land is now moss covered, tumbled down and where once corn and potatoes grew, now wild brambles, brush and other plants abound; rabbits, mice, squirrels and the woodchuck live here now along with an adder that was sunning itself on the big, flat rock that probably was the front step. There are birds and butterflies and bees everywhere and the lilac trees, now wild and overgrown still bloom. There is still life here even though the family is gone. The house and barn are just cellar holes and the fields are overgrown…but once a family had lived here and this was once a home.
As I stood there on the hill top where once a home had stood that is now lost to many seasons and overtaken by the woods and it seems I could almost hear the echoes coming to me on the breeze, feel the gladness that they found in life…the shouts, the laughter, hopes and dreams, the togetherness and unity and all that love and peace that comes from being family in the family of God.
Nearby, surrounded by a picket fence beneath two old twin pines, is the family burying ground and I see there was at least nine, the father, mother, children
Published in: Family