These last couple days have been a blast. Christmas isn’t apparently just one day in our house, we have been celebrating more of a Christmas week. I think it is definitely time to start eating healthier again, though, and to start exercising. And on that note, while taking a walk on Christmas day near my Grandma’s house, we came upon an old cemetery, and this headstone:
Not only is it interesting that this person from middle-of no-where-upstate, New York, fought and died for his country, someone somewhere out there still appreciates him. He was a veteran and that still matters, even if it happened over 50 years ago.
The flowers in front of his headstone were blown over and covered with leaves, but we dusted them off, and nestled them in front of his grave. The wind was blowing and the rain started splattering on our faces, and I tried to identify the significance this moment could possibly have.
Was it sad to be in a graveyard on Christmas afternoon? Was the rain and gloominess really just a way to emphasize it? Every little detail became so important suddenly: the curiosity on my boyfriend’s face as he yells across the headstones: “Look at this one, babe!”
The way the land curves and rolls; the mounds of grass, the moss that grows in splotches; and the path that cuts through the cemetery between tall, long-limbed trees. If you stood at one end of the path and looked down it, you get the impression that it goes on forever; that life continues somewhere on the “other side” where the road ends.
And meanwhile, the sky is so gray the clouds seem grumpy, like steel-gray eyebrows furrowed in disappointment, that it seems nearly impossible to find the light in the darkness, to stand tall and go about your day.
Except, I wasn’t sad or disappointed, I just felt…blessed. I was thankful to be where I am, in the country I am, with the people who I love and that belong to me. I felt proud for this soldier who had represented my country, and honored that I was the one who righted his flowers, to tell him, (even if it was just in a small way), that he did matter and still does to those who understand freedom and cherish it like I do.
I felt irony because of the name on the headstone, which happens to be the veteran’s father: George Bailey.
George Bailey, the name of the character in It’s a Wonderful Life, the man who didn’t know what wealth truly was until it was taken away from him. That our worth isn’t measured in the dollars in our pockets, but in the lives we touch and the people who love us most.
And isn’t that at the heart of Christmas?
I had a fantastic holiday, and I hope everyone else did, too. Did you do anything special this year? Vacation in the tropics? I’d love to hear about it.
Happy Writing everyone!