As a young girl, I remember fearing cemeteries, that place where my paternal grandpa was laid to rest atop a rare prairie hill when I was just nine.
But my view of cemeteries has evolved over the years so that today I see these earthly resting spots as places of faith, art, history and personal stories.
I no longer focus on the bones buried beneath my feet or the newly-departed lying under a heaped mound of dirt. Rather, I find myself reading tombstones, marveling at carved stone, wondering about the lives of those who lie within the often fenced boundaries of graveyards.
In particular, I am drawn to country cemeteries that my husband and I happen upon during leisurely Sunday afternoon drives in rural Minnesota.
Spot a spire spearing the sky and we typically find a cemetery tucked behind or aside the church. Convenient and comforting.
During this Holy Week, when Christians worldwide focus on reflection and repentance and the suffering and crucifixion of Christ, it seems fitting to revisit some of the Minnesota cemeteries I’ve explored.
There is much to learn here about those who went before us—those we loved and those we never knew.
Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
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