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10.17.2014

SHH, QUIET, NO RUNNING... they might hear you


There is a sign on the gate of the cemetery near my house.  I read it every time I walk through it to take a long, quiet, fast walk. The sign leaves me with a grin and a "rule" washed sigh.  That cemetery is one of the places I go to shake the day off me after work, breath the unboundaried air, and bracket my outside morning run with another round of outdoors [just wired to need to be in nature].  I think more calmly there.  I read the names as I run by them and wonder about their lives, their families.  That place causes me think about my own family members who have died. To simply remember [though they are not buried in that cemetery or this state]

Cemeteries have a unique vibe.  They aren't spooky to me or creepy.  They don't conjure up fear of death for me.  Quite the contrary occurs.  They give me a peaceful feeling.  A quiet resolution of all the things. It's also a place of beauty - big old trees of every kind dot the acres.  The trees, I imagine in my big screened mind, are the keepers of the grounds.  They spread their branches and use their grandness to show there is still beauty even in death.

I like that it is an equalizing place.  No matter who you were, what you did in life, we all end up there.  This is not a theological debate on are we really equal in death when it comes to eternity, is there an eternity of heaven and hell?  That podium is saved for a post that can give it the platform it deserves.  Though all are completely and positively dead, a kind of collective lives lived pulses there.  One just has to listen.  There is a silent story and I feel it every time I enter.

I suppose I connect to cemeteries because there I am readily and easily reminded that eventually I will run out of time.  Time is a huge issue to me - not to waste it, to maximize it, to savor it, to use it being who I was created and ordained to be.  I probably write about it, in one way or another, more than anything else.  It is a drug, a commodity, a treasure.

Cemeteries and churches are somewhat similarly funny.  Both places declare and command a respect of the surroundings.  The following sign is posted on the cemetery gate close to where I live:

NO DOGS ALLOWED. 
NO JOGGING PERMITTED.
OFFICE HOURS 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. MONDAY-THURSDAY
ALL FLOWERS REMOVED OCTOBER 1ST
 
Churches hold to those first two rules as well - no dogs and no running in the building.  The cemetery "rules" are clearly stated.  Churches' rules though are not always clearly stated or necessarily posted, but those two are generally enforced and caught though not formally taught.

I want to know who made up those rules? There is little logic in them. Understandably office hours and why flowers might need to be removed by October 1st in the Midwest, logical.  Though possibly goofy, but respectful as well, I get that dogs might crap on a grave.  Dog poop seems more an issue for the groundskeepers than the dead.  But I get it.  NO JOGGING, I just simply do not get.  Who classifies running as a disrespectful activity?  Most people who run or jog aren't going to vandalize things - they are out for exercise not hoodlumism.  How is it ok to walk there but not run? 

Post-life, wherever my body or ashes find themselves resting, feel free to party, run, dance and exhibit all signs of life near me.  I'm more than good with it.  When you are alive - live!!

For the life of me I cannot abide by something that just makes no sense.  If someone can really justify it, then I could maybe buy into it.  It's like libraries and the quiet shh factor.  I got in trouble a time or two in my youth for being too loud in a library.  And by trouble, I mean I used my normal voice in the confines of the library.  Yes there are people reading, possibly studying, using a computer maybe, but how does a normal tone of voice disrupt the whole library.

I get why possibly running around a swimming pool that might have wet cement with wet feet might not be the safest of things to do.  But I do not get banning jogging in a cemetery.  It's not like there is traffic.  It's not like the rhythmic breathing of a runner is disturbing anyone.  How is running in the disrespectful category?

When logic is no where to be found in rules, I do what all people in our culture do, I google it to find out more.  There are as many opinions on the running in a cemetery subject as there are belly buttons.  They ranged from the ridiculously slap your hand with a ruler sort of thoughts to actually asking people who have a loved one buried in a cemetery how they felt about someone running on the roads within a cemetery.  I really could not find anything historically that linked "running" in church or cemeteries to being "wrong" or tied to a historical event or time in history.  Running in a church or a cemetery are cultural mores originally created by man and over time just assumed as the correct view.

It's a cultural thing that we [ok I don't] now accept as an absolute. Respect is far more than an action, it's an approach, a mind set as well.  It's much like the don't wear white after Labor Day rule - no basis for it but eventually yet another  cultural mores was formed. You theoretically could walk in a cemetery and be more disrespectful than if you ran.  It's not the action of walking or running but rather what you do with that action that shows respect. Now, I won't run in that cemetery because it's posted not to do so.  I'm adhering to that rule not for respect for the dead necessarily, but because I respect the cemetery rules - though I don't agree with it one morsel.  I will continue to take fast walks there though.

Where actually is the line between jogging and walking?  I can walk a 12 minute mile.  I can run an 8 minute mile.  Some people run a 12 minute mile and walk a 20 minute mile.  So, I guess it's the movement they look at:)  My walking pace might lead them to believe I'm jogging.

The thing is, I haven't heard one dead person complain, yet.

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