I’m not sure why, like the wardrobe or pools of water in Lewis’s Narnia, the archway at Hale Cemetery takes you into a whole different world. But today, in the perfect blueness above and trees kissed by the sunlight into colorful frenzies, we crossed under that archway and entered a place of quiet. A whole different world, it seemed.

I’m speaking about a different sort of peace altogether. Perhaps it’s because my morning was surrounded with people and demands and serving and more people (All of which I love. I really, really do love.), but this afternoon’s peace was that much more noticed because of it, I’m sure.

Here in this local cemetery, surrounded by autumn and carpeted in pine-cones and maple leaves, the stuff of seasonal death—there’s a stillness too; a sort of nonchalant nod in the general direction of life and all its demands and needs. Fall comes and with it there is a letting go, a rest from all the warm-weather needs—sunlight, water, tender soil—trees release their summer beauty, grass hunches over in preparation for its coming blanket. We all hold up the snowy white flag of surrender to this certain end.

My pastor mentioned this morning that we don’t see U-Hauls being pulled by hearses at funerals. Good thought. Truth. Death means the end of it all. End of demands and needs and requirements and serving. It means turning down, shutting up, covering over, and sleeping at last. A sort of letting go that feels like the peace found in Hale Cemetery.

As we left she quoted I Corinthians 15 to me. And I was reminded that all this stillness and peace, the ending of life and all of its demands and joys and pains and thrills, are still cheap substitutes for the real triumph for which we’re still waiting.

September 2007