Today I asked ...
1. Things: Sentimental or no? The results were significantly more yes answers than no answers.
2. People: Genealogy or no? The results were higher for yes, I know my ancestry through doing genealogy.
3. Cemetery: Visits or No? Surprisingly it was even with the yes, I visit, to the no, I never visit results.
1. Taking the sentimental journey one might discover that those who are deep into sentimentality are the best gift-givers, tend to feel all of life, they are full of possibility living, are infectiously happy, are great listeners, great lovers, love to celebrate, easy to forgiv-ers, have the most profound relationships, and get all into making the best memories. On the other hand, things accumulate, need dusting, and we often find ourselves the generational storage units. How we deal with the emotional baggage is essential.
2. Genealogy drives me crazy. It is worse than Candy Land or Monopoly. It never ends. I think most who love genealogy would make great detectives. So, if you are into solving the case of your timeline, then genealogy is for you. Don't get me wrong; it is addictive. It is a bit costly if you try to visit every cemetery where the lines of your family are buried or maintain an online presence with data storage. It is so much easier today to record or retrieve the information, but it is also easy to get off track of a line and into the wrong family with hints provided through online databases like Ancestry.com, so read before you add data to be certain it is your people. Of course, if it were not for Ancestry.com, I would not be involved in genealogy at all. I am thankful for all of their diligence in gathering, recording, and offering of information to us. I look at genealogy database recording as a great big family "baby book." If I need to know a date or an important milestone from the 1200s, I can look it up!!! Seriously, when you are uncertain about relatives' information, it is instantly at your fingertips. So, be your best detective self and get busy.
3. One who enjoys cemeteries is a taphophile. I have a very talented friend who I consider a tapho-photographer. A cemetery offers us many things outside of the death experience itself. Let's look; the art and beauty found in a cemetery for the photographer's eye draw many to the quiet and often ornate surroundings. The stories told by the engraved markers will spin a tale that is penned in the best writer's log. The history often spurs us to read about battles and wars (particularly the Civil War). There is something about a grave-site that makes you feel connected to those that lie there. Even for the Believer who knows their loved one is not present there, unexplained spiritual connectivity may occur. Remember, God is the author of the journey. There are times when there are unexplainable connections to random graves where you feel a connection. Stop and enjoy it! The culture of honoring the dead is different for different groups. The type of grave-sites found are diverse, and to understand; we need to look at the location and community. Remember, cemeteries are not to be feared and are rarely boring.
There is cemetery etiquette, and if you don't know it, you should. Drive with care. Remain on designated roads or drivable paths. If you are unsure, ask. If you take pets, be sure you diaper them, so they do not urinate or poop on the graves, markers, shrubs, or trees. Respect the graves. Many are very fragile, and a bump or touch can damage them. Remember, the goal is to preserve the area. This is not the place to play leap over the markers. Always be aware of mourners, services, etc. and offer respectable distance. Some cemeteries are public, while others are private. Contact the cemetery care-taker for guidance.
Photographers...always get permission. It is rude to take photos during a funeral or service. ... Nearly all cemeteries are okay with you taking pictures of your loved one's marker. Some memorial parks prohibit photography of headstones/markers as they consider it an invasion of privacy for the families of those interred. Remember, different cultures have different codes of care for their loved ones.
Thoughts on closure. If you have things that you are sentimental about. Pray for the giver or the owner when you look at them. The dust won't disappear, but the blessing will be delivered. Whether you keep up with family history or you don't...it is okay. And, a cemetery is a "parking lot" awaiting to be moved at the Revelation of Jesus Christ.