Jogging Through the Cemetery: Reflections on Living Fully

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Ever since I can remember, I have loved cemeteries.  There is a peacefulness in a cemetery that I can find no where else.  A sense of quiet and calm.  A curiosity about the folks who are buried there, what their lives were like, how they lived, how they died.  I love to stop and read the headstones, especially in an old cemetery.  Often, the old gravestones tell stories, of children, young, women, old men, soldiers.  Who their children were, who they loved, who loved them.  Stony cherubs dance around Victorian verses, granite angels gently caress roses that will never fade, and endlessly weep for lost youth.

There is a cemetery a block away from my house.  I've walked through it many a time, sometimes in a spirit of curiosity, at times in meditation, and sometimes in grief.  Lately, I've been taking some of my morning jogs through the cemetery.

Some might think I am being disrespectful, to exercise in a place set aside for paying respects to the dead.

I don't think so.

When I jog along the gravel path through the cemetery, I contemplate those around me, buried forever beneath the earth and the old headstones.  I almost seem to hear their voices cheering me on:  "Run, girl!"  "Live life while you can!"  "Treasure this moment."  "We will never feel the cool breeze blowing or smell the sweet mowed grass.  We will never again touch a baby's cheek, or feel our heart pumping the blood through our veins, the breath fill our lungs, our feet skim the ground.  Run, girl.  Live now, for all too soon, you will be here with us, never to run again.  Run while you can.  Run as long as you can."

This may seem like a grim post.  It is not.  Every morning when I jog through the cemetery, I am reminded why I am running.  Because life is for the living.  It is all too short.  It is here and then, it is gone.  And I will treasure it, honor it, live it, while I am here, as long as I can.