Meet Katy. She's a dear friend of mine from seminary and we've managed to keep in touch pretty well in the years since then. Katy is one of the most unique people I know: the girl who wore vintage skirts, pearls and tennis shoes to class, who takes stunning pictures, who laughs infectiously and who is always up for grand (and sometimes random) adventures. Our most recent time of catching up was no exception. Katy was home visiting family in San Antonio and I live in Victoria, so we made plans to meet somewhere in the middle. As we went to Goliad and explored the missions last time we met up, we were looking for something new to do. Our conversation went something like this:
Katy: "Hey! What about meeting in Smiley or Nixon? They're halfway
Me: (pausing to think of what there could possibly be to do in Smiley, Texas)
"Okay, that sounds good."
Katy: "Do you like old cemeteries?"
Me: (pausing to take in that question) "Um...sure."
Well, apparently Katy and her husband Will loved wandering around old Victorian cemeteries in Atlanta and sort of have a habit of exploring tiny, old cemeteries. (This was apparently a very romantic first date of theirs!) Katy takes pictures, Will takes in the peaceful quiet and they have themselves a grand ol' time. I've learned in my friendship with Katy that if she suggests something new to do, as strange as it may be, you'll wind up having the most fun day ever.
And so on Friday we did. It was fantastic to see Katy and Will again and they had mapped out on their iPhone all sorts of teeny country cemeteries to explore.
And you know what? They were beautiful and holy, peaceful and relaxing.
I loved the different ways people were celebrated: some with hand-written care and thought.
Others, simply remembered with a cross (what else do you really need?).
I wonder about who made this heart in the dirt and left the rose. Such deep love. Cemeteries could be seen as depressing, but I think they remind us of our connection to God and one another that never dies. And in a world where everyone is pressured to be fine all the time, they create space to acknowledge our grief and express our emotions.
It was definitely an adventure. In the middle of finding ancient resting places and admiring unexpected beauty, we also took time to sit on a blanket and eat lunch, tell stories, laugh and breathe and celebrate life for the gift it is. What an unexpectedly lovely day.