The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,And all that beauty, all that wealth e're gave Awaits alike the inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"
I used to teach undergrads at Palm Beach Atlantic University. My favorite course was Foundations of Christian Leadership (FCL). I required my FCL students to memorize that stanza from Gray's Elegy. It is a salient reminder that life is short and death is the great leveler of all.
Memorizing is helpful, but I wanted my students to feel the force of Gray's wisdom. So each semester I took the FCL class on a field trip to the Woodlawn Cemetery. There is nothing like a walk among the dead to rouse the spirits of the living. Headstones speak volumes and students listen when they talk!
I have often passed by the headstone of the Bartlett Family. Rev. William Bartlett is one of my heroes of the faith. If you look closely I think you will understand why. Francina Bartlett gave birth to their first child at 21. William's namesake lived 39 years, but sadly mother and father would bury their firstborn. In fact, they would bury every one of their children. I thought parents were not supposed to bury their young?
I can only imagine the cloud of sadness that hung over William's heart as he watched his wife's coffin lowered into the grave. First there was Paul, then little Francis, then Esther, then William, and now Francina. How much grief can one man bear? How did he cope?
As I stood in front of that grave, pondering a life that ended before mine began, I understood Bartlett's secret. The caption read:"Because I live, ye also shall live."John 14:19
It's Who you look to that matters. Look to Him today!