Someone told me there were paved trails with good views of the city up by the Pioneers’ Cemetery. I was thinking I would do something on “When I consider the heavens…” from Psalm 8 for today’s photo meditation for Lent using the word prompt, “consider.” I went there to look for a good shot of the sky and the sunset over the city and the lake. But the sun disappeared. The foreground view was filled with warehouses and industrial sites. I hadn’t intended to spend time looking at the gravestones. That feels like a macabre activity, but they caught my attention.
The Hebrew word translated as “consider” in most translations of the Bible means “to see, perceive, regard, observe, watch, study, discern…” You get the idea. I perceived something I hadn’t really taken note of before and that was the number of graves of women in their twenties and thirties. I had seen graves of young mine and railway workers before, but I hadn’t really considered how young many of the women were when their bodies were laid in those graves. It seemed that if a woman made it past childhood disease years and childbearing years, she would had a good chance of living to an old age of sixty or more.
Then I saw it. I am in my sixties. By standards of a hundred plus years ago, I am one of the lucky ones who has lived to an old age.
The verse, “Teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom,” (Psalm 90) came to mind. There is something about taking time to consider, to contemplate, to pay attention, that helps us gain wisdom. I realized that I can be thankful for many years that others never had. In fact, the fewer years seniors can reasonably expect to have ahead of them, the more valuable those years become.
I also realize that no matter how many years we have, they are never enough. We are meant to be eternal creatures. Jesus offers us eternal life. He restores us to our original settings. That’s what this season leading up to Resurrection Sunday is all about.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2: 4, 5 NIV)