At my mother’s grave-side internment, there were about two hundred people present when a train suddenly passed by on the tracks which ran near the cemetery. The priest paused for a moment as he waited for the rumbling giant to pass by. I wondered if anyone on the train knew who we were, why we were there, who was being buried, or, did they even notice that we were there. How I wanted to be on that train. We then retired to my Mom’s home to begin the arduous task of clearing out a lifetime of memories. How cathartic to see her home empty and devoid of identifying belongings.
Shortly after two hurricanes only a week apart struck our area, a woman called me at the suicide hotline. Not only was her house destroyed, but her mom’s graveside in the local cemetery was flooded and the area where her mom was interned had washed away. The hurricane took this woman’s present, future and past. She was living in her mom’s home which was paid for long ago, she didn’t have a job, nor did she have insurance. We discussed whether this was the end or a beginning. I wasn’t there to solve her problems, just to help her get through the moment.
I ascertained that she was a religious woman so we talked about the two Mary’s who kept vigil at the tomb of Jesus and how they discovered the tomb empty three days later. What could those women have been feeling at the thought of Jesus’ body being stolen? Later, when Jesus appeared to Mary, she didn’t recognize him until he called her by name. There is much power in calling someone by name. At the suicide hotline, I always get the name of a caller, even if they want to give me fake name. I then make it a point to use a caller’s name throughout all phone call. It is often the difference between life and death, hope or despair, simply calling someone by name.
I read in the paper this morning about a principal at an elementary school in Alabama who wrote a letter to the office of parole in support of a convicted felon’s pardon. It was unbelievable how many people were appalled at his action in an attempt at trying to help a man resurrect his life. Due to the outcry and demands from a victims of crime group, like a blood thirsty crowd demanding the release of Barabbas, there were demands to the school board to remove the principal from his position. No good deed goes unpunished.
Joseph of Arimathea risked his own life as he accepted Jesus’ body for burial.
He laid his body there in a cave and rolled a large stone in front of it, then went home. What a sad day it has been for so many people.
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
by Mary Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Frye, who was living in Baltimore at the time, wrote the poem in 1932. She had never written any poetry, but the plight of a young German Jewish woman, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with her and her husband, inspired the poem. Margaret Schwarzkopf had been concerned about her mother, who was ill in Germany, but she had been warned not to return home because of increasing anti-Semitic unrest. When her mother died, the heartbroken young woman told Frye that she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”. Frye found herself composing a piece of verse on a brown paper shopping bag. Later she said that the words “just came to her” and expressed what she felt about life and death.
Indeed, finding leads to losing, but losing lets you find.
O God, your blessed Son was laid in a tomb in a garden and rested on the Sabbath day: Grant that we who have been buried with him in the waters of baptism may find our perfect rest in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.