Tonight was my last photography class for the summer. The final project was to create a series of photos with a common theme using everything we’ve learned regarding light, composition, texture, line, etc. I decided to create a series on the theme “Life is Short” based on the verse in James 4:14 which tells us “…life is like a vapor, it appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” With this theme in mind I headed north to an old cemetery. I was drawn to the older section of the cemetery that has markers dating back to the 1800’s. The older markers have poems, bits of songs, and other personal words seldom seen on the newer stones.
The life-spans of those in the older section were invariably short. Most of the ones I saw were infants, children, and women in their 20’s and 30’s. On one marker for 2 children in the late 1800’s who died within one year of each other ( a girl 4 years old, and a boy 2 years old) these words were barely visible :
Their gentle voices now are hushed
We have kissed their lovely brows
And in our aching hearts we know
We have no darlings now
It was a sobering time. “Cemetery sitting” is an activity I recommend. It gave me a much needed perspective in the midst of my hectic life. It brought the brevity of life right before my face. Things that were on my mind while driving there seemed so frivolous as I drove home. Most likely, no one alive remembers these men, women, and children who’s bodies were laid to rest over 100 years ago. It will be the same with me someday, unless the Lord returns first. As a Christian, I take enormous comfort knowing that He will never forget my name, though my grave-marker crumble to dust.
I sent a few of the best photos to my professor. He showed 1 to the class. Instead of asking me to expound upon my own photo, he explained in length what he thought it meant and moved on without giving me a chance to share my message. After he had gone through everyone else’s photos, I kindly asked him if he had recieved my other pictures? He said he did not know I had sent more than one, though the icon of the digital file with my pictures was visible on screen. Perhaps he, like most, does not want to face his own mortality? Once again, I found that the post-modern claims of “tolerance” for all views seldom extends to Christianity. I was disappointed.
When I got home from class I found out that my husband’s aunt was killed today. Her car was hit by a train and she’s gone. The video was on the news. How poignant it was to see the truth of scripture and all the thoughts surrounding this photography project played out in real life. I’ve experienced more death in my life than most people my age, but it never ceases to surprise me. My mind still asks, “How strange. How can this be?” Truly, I would have despaired long ago were it not for my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation.
I hope these photos cause you to consider the brevity of life today; not in a gloomy-macabre way, but in an honest way. One day we will “go the way of all the earth”.
Are You Ready?