What will your tombstone say?
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Recently my children and I have been discussing a subject most don’t relish. We are in the process of deciding what to put on their father’s gravestone. When he was killed in action ten years ago I chose to wait until the kids were old enough to decide what ought to be written on it and now is the time.
Part of this process includes wandering through graveyards to see what others have said and done. While visiting his grave at West Point Military Academy, I took some pictures of other gravestones nearby to give me an idea of what colors and messages were surrounding him. The stone in this picture has information on every side. There are also many famous people buried at West Point. One gravestone I’ve always loved to visit is Anna B. Warner, who wrote, “Jesus Loves Me”. The first verse of this song is written on her stone. We took my oldest daughter there to see it when she was five and she stood there and sang the song. That’s legacy.
I admit it’s not a typical family outing, yet we enjoyed this time together. Since our excursions I’ve been thinking about what would go on my tombstone. I’ve pondered whether I’d prefer my achievements inscribed there or what I believed, or both. If the answer is both would they be consistent and compatible? What message is my life sending and what will remain when I’m gone?
“Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”
Genesis 50:24-25 New International Version
Joseph reminded his brothers of God’s promise when he died. He demonstrated his faith by instructing them to take his bones with them once the promise was fulfilled. God has given us a promise as well. Our job is to communicate that promise while we live and let it resonate to future generations after we’re gone.
Copyright photo and text Richelle Hecker