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A visit to the cemetery brings joyful reunions

By Craig D. Malz

Special to the Salisbury Post

A memorial is something set up or established to help us remember. To remember is to literally be re-attached to something or someone.

One of the most memorable Memorial Days was when I went to Boss, Missouri. Boss is a very small unincorporated community that my wife’s family is from. Her ancestors were homesteaders there as this nation was forming. I can’t remember if there is a caution light or not, since the roads are so windy, most drivers unfamiliar with the area would be too busy watching the road to notice a light anyway.

The community that lives there loves it, and would not live anywhere else. They love what Boss is, and also what it is not. Their motto according to Wikipedia is “IF YOU ARE HERE, YOU MUST BE LOST.”

There are many things Boss does not have, in fact most things it does not have. But it does have something most of the nation does not remember having. Cemetery Day. They call it “Decoration Day.” Memorial Day is arguably the most populated, busy day of the year there. People from all over the nation brave the windy roads and come to Boss to meet at The Cemetery and reminisce.

Families affected by war

Last time I was there, my kid’s grandfather happened to meet his first-grade teacher there. It was amazing to hear the stories and understand how the ever-extending family is related. It was moving to know how the families of the community were affected by all the major wars. People stayed out in the cemetery all day talking and catching up.

If there was any place I’ve been that is sort of like the great meeting place in heaven might be like, it may be Boss. I watched people rejoice as they would run into folks from their past and call out wildly to other family members to “come meet so and so.” People come on Memorial Day for the sole purpose of being reattached to loved ones who have passed, and also to be reattached to those still living.

There is more life and love in that cemetery than any other I’ve ever been. Sure, there are bigger cemeteries with more people visiting today, but I bet none have such a sense of community as the one in Boss does. People come there not just to show their respect, but to be reattached to people they haven’t seen in a long time. They actually come to find out how they might be related to each other, not just visit a headstone of someone who has passed.

As the afternoon started to end, I left with a strong sense of connection with a family I married into. I watched the line of cars not only leave the cemetery, but leave Boss, because there is not any place to stay there unless you have family there.

I am sure heaven will be the most beautiful place we have ever seen, but like going to Boss on Memorial Day, the folks there will be there solely out of relationship. People don’t go to heaven just to see the Crystal Sea or the streets of gold, they are there because of the real relationship they have with their Heavenly Father and because of Him, can enjoy relationships with others with like precious faith.

So off-track

If heaven is all about relationships, why am I usually so stressed here on earth about things? Things I have to do, resources I need to make to do the things I have to do, etc. How did I get so off-track?

Obituaries have tried to point us in the right direction all along. They relate primarily relationships to a surviving family, maybe a relationship to a company and sometimes relationships to a church or civic organization the person may have had. That’s it. Nothing about their 401k, what neighborhood they lived in or what kind of car they drove. Nothing about things ultimately matters, so why is that so often our focus this side of the grave?

The Bible tells us to be “eternally-minded.” One way to do that is to be more focused on our relationships than the things that we think need to be done.

Jesus said the most important law to obey is to love God and people with absolutely all that is in us. 1 Cor. 13 relates a list of things we can do, but if we don’t mix love with them, they are worthless.

Let this Memorial Day be the best ever, not because of the watermelon and barbecue, but because we focus on remembering relationships that matter, and reattaching our lives to them.

Reaching out and restoring a severed relationship on Memorial Day is as perfect as a first kiss on Valentine’s Day. Today’s the day. Forget the things you have to do, and remember the people you need to reach out to.

Someday when we all get to that great “Boss, Missouri meeting” in the sky, you’ll be glad you did!

Of course the motto there will be different, “IF YOU ARE HERE, YOU MUST BE FOUND!”

Craig D. Malz lives in Concord.

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