Real Life

I took the long way home from downtown Suffolk yesterday, and it was worth every extra minute.  Before getting to the highway, I filled my daily quota of trees, open fields, and everything small-town.

Right before the final return-to-civilization moment, I did run into one little snag in the bliss–a cemetery.  I actually like cemeteries, especially ones that are in the middle of rural areas.  What I’m opposed to are the fake flowers that seem to be more and more popular in cemeteries.

I’ve never reacted well to fake flowers by graves, but I’d never been able to put my finger on why it bothers me until yesterday.

People buy fake flowers because they don’t die, right?  They’re “eternally” bright and perky and full of life (although it’s not really life in the first place).  But the whole point of the cemetery is to house dead people.  If the people represented in the cemetery are full of eternal life, it certainly isn’t life like a fake flower.  It’s glorious and real and not in that graveyard.  And if people aren’t full of eternal life, fake flowers in florescent shades don’t send the right message either.  That’s like having a garish party for a tragedy of monumental proportions.

I understand the intent behind the fake flowers.  They’re a symbol of love and care for someone who isn’t here anymore.  I just much prefer this version of that statement:

Now those are some cemetary flowers I can get behind.  They’re wild and free and natural.  They seem to say that time is passing, and God still makes life beautiful despite loss.  They’re about real life in all of its messiness and disarray.  They’re about regeneration and seasons and God’s design.  So much better.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mom says:

    Grandmama Merritt is probably relieved she didn’t leave the cemetery fund in your care (although you might get it later)! I like the real and wild flowers better, too. What do you think would grow in a sandy, fireant ridden wasteland of eastern NC? Don’t forget the only water source is the infrequent rain.

  2. In my expert opinion, what you need are a few Serbian bellflower plants. Or maybe some rosemary or sage. Then you can make dinner after you visit the cemetery… multipurpose stops are important. (Now Grandma’s really rolling over in her grave because I’m multi-tasking during cemetery visits.) Who doesn’t want herbs from a cemetery?

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