Life in the Graveyard
I know this may sound odd, but I miss having a graveyard within walking distance from my home. Many people have looked at me strangely after hearing me say I like to sit in cemeteries and write, but it really is not a bad experience. It is quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, sitting with flowering trees all around, the aroma of hyacinths permeating the air. The peaceful silence makes for an ideal place to write uninterrupted.
Now, you must realize I would only do this on sunny afternoons. Even though I did not grow up watching television or scary horror movies, I did have an older brother who enjoyed telling me stories that scared me to the very bone. I learned to respect the graveyard and kept my distance at night. Yet, during the day, it was a beautiful, welcoming garden of solitude. I would stroll around the stones, studying the names and dates carved on the face of each one. A few of the names were familiar to me, but most of the dates went back to the 17 and 1800's. A great many of the stones listed children that died at very young ages. I always wanted to find out what blight had run rampant through the town and wiped out a lot of the families during a specific point in time, but I never could find out what it was.
One of my favorite places to sit was inside a rectangular area of grass, hedged in by four smooth stone beams, which made a small border like the beginnings of a house foundation. At one end stood a magnificent monument with a poem written about the young man who was buried underneath. It always intrigued me, even before I knew the story behind the strange gravesite.
My brother had found a book with a story that went something like this: the train pulled into the Cambridge Station (yes, the same one that is mentioned in my books!) and four armed and masked men jumped out and unloaded a coffin out of the train. The coffin seemed much heavier than a normal coffin would weigh, as observed by the witnesses around it. The guards set it into a wagon, and drove up to the cemetery on Pollander Road. With a mystery about them, they dug the hole two feet deeper than normal, and then placed a concrete slab over the top and not just dirt. Nothing more was said about why the secrecy behind the entire event, but it always made me wonder. I read and reread the caption on the gravestone, hoping to figure out the mystery, but never found anything else. There were two names written on the stone, Charles Mudgett and Milton E. Milner. It was speculated that the young man, Charles, (who was the black sheep of his family) may have taken the identity of the other man and that was why they wore masks as they buried the coffin. I personally wondered if there was gold buried down there with him, hence the extra protection of overlay that was chosen. There were also thoughts that there were two people buried down there instead of one, because of the two names on the stone. Whatever the case, it will remain a mystery until the end of time, when Jesus returns and everyone has to face Him on the throne.
All this talk makes me think of another gravesite that was left with mystery surrounding the events of the day, but only for those who did not understand at the time. When Jesus rose from the dead, the soldiers that guarded His tomb were knocked unconcious and had to explain the missing body from the grave that they had guarded. They were told to tell the people that the body had been stolen, in order to cover up the strange happenings. They did not want the truth to be known by the people.
I am so glad I know the truth about what happened that morning in the garden which held Jesus' tomb. Even though there is mystery surrounding the Mudgett's gravesite in Vermont, there is no mystery as to Who is not in that tomb, and where Jesus is today. He had victory over death when He rose from the dead, giving me the opportunity to have new life in Him. He now lives in my heart and I am so happy to know that even though I may rest in a cemetery someday (if He does not return before I die), I have the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven. I will be able to sit in the peaceful gardens that border the streets of gold, and enjoy the glory of His creation all around me.
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