Every week I have an artist’s date. I spend time by myself and with myself, my thoughts and my core. This beautiful ritual has become an integral and essential part of my week, and I look forward to the quiet and calm. The venue changes each date, but the one thing remains constant—it’s just me; no one else, no technology. Sometimes I sit at the lake, watching the fish and turtles glide their way through the water effortlessly. Sometimes I sit on the beach and listen to the waves crash relentlessly against the rocks. Sometimes I wander through flower fields of color. And sometimes I walk aimlessly though forests of trees as if entering a magical green tunnel where only the birds know my secrets. Today, I sat at the cemetery. A place many of us fear.
Yes, the movies have created this eerie image where scary things happen and nothing feels safe. Yet under the glorious blue sky and stunning sunlight, today this place is still, peaceful and soothing. And I sit here and think: one day, whatever path we choose, whatever we make of ourselves, whatever life we choose to live, we will reach this place. I am filled with a sense of certain inevitability. And I feel inspired. By the lives that lived before me and the legacy they have left for me.
A cemetery is a powerful place. With all its lifelessness, it is mighty and compels me to think about my choices. Do I live well? Do I love fully? Do I serve greatly? Do I make a contribution? Do I live my passions? Do I look after myself? Do I make a difference?
A cemetery is a powerful place. Millions of memories flood my heart and mind as I sit here. I remember life lessons, experiences, moments I wish I could relive for real, and gratitude for the people who have contributed to my world and left an indelible mark on my heart. We never forget. The pain may dull somewhat, but we never forget, and missing someone is a deep cause to make them proud, do them justice and make every moment we have count.
A cemetery is a powerful place. Suddenly everything has new perspective: our problems, our challenges, our mistakes, our dreams, our values, our priorities. Sitting here, I am digesting over and over again that all we take with us are our deeds and who we have become, what potential we have realized and the value of our service to those we love. A cemetery is authoritative in its unassuming way of humbling us, and yet empowering in its wake-up call for us to appreciate what we have here and now and all the abundant opportunities and pleasures life offers.
This may be a very strange place to have a date. A place of finality. Yet coming here as a visitor just passing through for now is the most incredible and overwhelming way to be reminded and feel in awe of life, of eternal faith, and the precious miracle of being alive, having a purpose and a mission to complete in this world. Do we really fear death—or do we fear not truly living?