A few years back, we took a vacation as a family. We traveled to different parts of Kentucky and Tennessee but took an excursion into Southern Ohio to show my wife and son where my dad’s family is from. The grave stone above is my great-grandfather Sylvester McCown. We also took a picture of his father’s stone. I think the house below belonged to one set of my great-grandparents. My son was 12 then and my cousin’s daughter was 11 and they thought this trip to see cemeteries was “boring.” Both of them kept asking why we wanted to see all these “dead people’s graves.” We tried to explain the importance of knowing who your ancestors were. Yet, I remember feeling the same way my son did when I was his age and we took vacations in Ohio. I wanted to explore the mountains, hills, old barns, the Ohio River banks, etc. Riding for an hour or so going from graveyard to graveyard was not fun then.
Now that I am almost 50 there is a desire to know more about these people. Seeing their tombstones, and some of their former homes brought up the following questions in my mind: What were they like? What did they do? How did they survive? When the first of them ventured into Ohio and West Virginia that area was frontier land. Some literally had to push back the wilderness so they could settle.
There was also a great reminder in viewing homes and graves. I began to consider my own humanity and my own “appointment” with death (Heb 9:27). The last of my great-grandparents died in 1967 the year I was born. And my grandmother McCown passed away in 2010, she was my last living grandparent. People who live eventually die. Am I ready? Are you ready? When I am no longer here, and my descendants visit my grave, what will they know about me? What legacy will I leave them? Sylvester (whose tombstone is pictured) was a hard-working timber man, his son (my grandfather) Herbert worked the locks and barges on the Ohio River. Will my grandchildren, great-grandchildren know me as an honest worker, will they know my passion for the Lord?
I think I will take a moment today and pray for the generations that will follow me, starting with my son (and your children / grandchildren). I ask you to do the same.