My youngest son is working as camp counselor in upstate New York, and needed some things he’d forgotten at home. Our parish also had some items for Holy Trinity Monastery, in Jordanville, New York, so I decided to make a quick overnight trip and bring everyone everything.
The monastery has a seminary and a cemetery. In the Orthodox Church one should be married or a monk to be ordained. When my brother started seminary, he invited me to a conference. That’s where I met my husband. George became a married priest. Joseph eventually became a monk.
My brother is buried behind the church, in front of the cemetery, right in the middle of everything. I visited his grave and those of some of the monks and bishops who are dear to us. Then I went up to the cemetery on the hill where our godfather and more friends are buried.
The sky was blue, the weather gentle, and it was good to spend time remembering. A well tended grave is an act of love. It gives us a focal point for grief. And when we have adjusted to a loss as one learns to live without a limb, a hand, then the pleasure of wisdom passed on and time spent together has the potential to eclipse grief. Not always. Just as, with a regular eclipse of the moon, sometimes it’s too cloudy for us to see, sometimes we are too cloudy.
But I grew up near the sea, at low elevation, and I tend to concern myself with the diurnal and the pragmatic. So to be in the Adirondacks driving past cliffs of rocks, soaring trees, and looking down on sweeping verdant plains is a vacation for the heart, a rest from the mundane. Love does not die. And so it is a comfort to walk from place to place where people you love are safely stashed.
So much of our treasure is already laid up in Heaven.
Top photo credit: Chad Husby via Source / CC BY-NC-ND