And their works do follow them

An inexplicable impulse to return to a regional cemetery brings a timely message to the forefront.

Did the Universe put me face to face with a message I needed to see? Or was it a coincidence?

I had cabin fever — again. I had to get out of the house. I picked up a sandwich to go and headed north, to the Mt. Zion / La Center Cemetery

Why Mt. Zion? I’d been thinking about the place for no apparent reason for at least a week. Today, at first, it was just a pleasant place close to home where I could have lunch, walk and think. My boyfriend and I had visited a couple years ago, noting the memorial to the victims of the Yacolt Burn in 1902.

Then I checked the Google Maps entry and saw my previous photos, including this one. 

Photo by the author

I was startled, as I’d been pondering some heavy questions that these words spoke to — yet not directly.

My father passed away in April of this year. I’d been thinking about a long life lived, the relief from his physical condition (rest from their labors) and his legacy and mine (and their works do follow them). I’d been thinking about writing and journaling as ways to leave a legacy, sort out new insights and come to terms with grief (saying unto me, Write). I’d been thinking about comfort and coping mechanisms (comfort one another with these words).

Photo by the author

In the original carving, the word “write” is followed by a comma. Meaning, “write this, ……”  At a casual glance, due to dirt, algae or lichen, it looks like a period, which my brain interpreted as a command from God to write.

In the original context of Revelations, the quote “that they may rest from their labors: and their works do follow them,” has a meaning that good works lead to a heavenly rest (cause and effect). At my casual reading, there is no cause and effect; they are resting, AND their works do follow them (i.e. they leave a legacy of good works).

In the original context of First Thessalonians, Paul is clarifying the cause and effect to comfort believers. But today, they provided a comfort I had been needing. 

These original Biblical verses have a different, faith-based context than the meaning I took from them today. I think that’s okay. The Bible has been interpreted many different ways for both good and bad. If my interpretation is for the good, and provides comfort, that’s a good thing, so why argue with it? The Universe probably knew that it wouldn’t get me to open a Bible to receive a message; but it could get me to go to a cemetery!

At first I wasn’t sure I could find this specific monument in the entire cemetery. I was able to use the Google Maps photo to figure out that the monument was right next to where I’d parked the car! Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. I took a fresh photo as a reminder to appreciate the mysterious ways of the Universe.

Stump and Lamb explores personal growth and meaning via travels to pioneer cemeteries of the West.

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