“The only people without problems are those in cemeteries.”
– Anthony Robbins
I like cemeteries.
I know. Weird, right? But I do. I always have. And I got it honest. I remember my daddy and I going to cemeteries and just walking through them in silence. Not really saying anything, not even discussing what the heck we were doing there or why, but just walking around, reading the stones. I’m not really sure what he was thinking (hmmm…maybe I should ask), but I know what I was thinking. I was inventing lives for the people in my head. I was looking at the time differences between the deaths of couples and wondering what it was like for the survivor during the interim. Wondering how often they sat at that very spot visiting the grave where they are now buried themselves. Wondering if the death of their loved one changed them…made them live life differently after that, with more of a purpose or awareness of how it could all end at any time.
Yep, all that stuff went through my head even as a child. I’ve always been weird.
Well, this weekend I found myself drawn back to the same abandoned cemetery that I seem to be drawn to a lot lately. I hadn’t been there in a while because of the winter weather, so it was nice to visit again. It’s almost like visiting an old friend in a way. For some reason, no matter how down or low I’m feeling, I find myself feeling better when I’m surrounded by these graves. How weird is that? Sitting there, I wondered that very thing – why in the world does being around these seemingly forgotten graves make me feel at peace? Then, it dawned on me.
I was surrounded by silence.
Hmmm. Mystery solved.
I’m drawn to this particular spot because I’m forced into silence. There’s no one to talk to, no one to listen to, no need to put on airs or be someone I’m not. I can just be me in the stillness. I can cry if I want. I can smile. I can feel nothing. It’s all accepted. I’m surrounded by spirits of those who have gone before me. Those who have felt all of those feelings before and will never have the chance to feel them again. I’m allowed to just be; to feel whatever I want, and know that I’m blessed to do so, and will not be judged. I can be reminded that, unlike my unknown companions, I am still alive. My heart is still beating. There is still time to say the things that need to be said, time to apologize for any wrongdoings, or, in some cases, to just learn to simply let things be. In the stillness, surrounded by my silent audience, I can say my goodbyes. Not for anyone else’s sake, but for my own. I can let go.
Then, the real world starts tapping on my shoulder, and I realize it’s time to leave.
I pick myself up; dust myself off; bid my silent friends a quiet farewell; and go back to the hustle and bustle that I call my life.
“Cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams… countless echoes of ‘could have’ and ‘should have’… countless books unwritten… countless songs unsung… I want to live my life in such a way that when my body is laid to rest, it will be a well needed rest from a life well lived, a song well sung, a book well written, opportunities well explored, and a love well expressed.”
– Steve Maraboli