To lie out your own grave
Death is inevitable. At some point it takes us into its unforeseeable hands, folding us up into a final farewell. No matter how you believe: whether you'll return to this land again, roam the heavens or scorch the underworlds, or nothing at all, there comes a moment in time that everything we have done is done. It is this that spurs me on at times. Morbid subject, eh? Nah, just give me a few more seconds of your time.
There were times when I was a teenager that I was angry at the world and at myself, ungrateful and confused (shock, shock), and my mother, in her wisdom, would take my sister and me for a drive to a cemetery. Not to walk the grounds and glance at the tombstones, names, dates, and to reflect on history and life, but to the empty places. She'd tell us to pick out an empty place and lie down.
I'd trudge over to a place closest to a tree, sit down then lie back. With the grass tickling the sides of my face, eye-level with markers of lives well passed, staring up the the far off sky, I felt the cold grass through my clothing, the breeze tumbling over me, and my breathing somehow became my main focus. How shocking and sobering of a moment and only to be followed by another. I felt so close to the end, to being forgotten, my name only being remembered in stone. Yet, each breath, heartbeat, blink, shiver was a screaming new moment of life. There's so much time to life, yet so little of it. I would return to the car silent, grateful, and a little older than the confused teenager I had been moments before. I had been given time, our most precious gift.
To you, this may sound strange and unusual, but I grew up hearing about a village that needed to know how big to make their cemetery. So they had the entire village gather and lie down on the ground of the future cemetery to measure out the size. Snow began to fall as they laid there, creating a silence over the place. Body by body, they stared up into the sky feeling human and alive. Then after some time, they began to stand, conversations started up, and the villagers returned to their daily lives.
Imagine going to measure your last resting place, and coming away having a glimpse into the measure of a life.
Sometimes when I feel lost in this world of chaos and expectations, I go back in my mind to those times I laid by death and life, and I am able to see through the veil of the chaos and expectations long enough to appreciate time and its hold over us, knowing I will never be able to know its measure but nor could I pretend I don't its worth.