Just a few steps from our home in Dunfanaghy, I move from the townland of Rinclevan to the townland of ‘Kill’ and start off down the ominous sounding ‘Graveyard Road’. Sure enough, just 400m or so later there is a ruined church building and the local burial grounds. It’s located on a little crown of hill overlooking Horn Head and the sea.
Some of the headstones are celtic crosses which seem to be looking out over the wall. A particularly poignant section is the Famine Graveyard (pictured above) where the poor people from the local Workhouse were once buried, without headstones. There are also some folk buried in here who were ‘lost at sea’ and washed up on nearby beaches. I’m reminded of the many headstones in the 1st World War cemeteries in Normandy for soldiers who were unidentified which bear the inscription, ‘A Soldier of the Great War – Known unto God.’
If the beginning of my walk seems sombre with this reminder of our mortality and how death levels us all, I’m encouraged that the road is heading east where the rising sun is breaking through the clouds with warmth and splendour. As a believer I cannot help but think of the New Testament promises that the world’s Saviour will soon return ‘on the clouds’ with glory and His followers will rise, struggles past, to share His resurrection.
I could happily bask in this direction all day but at the bottom of the hill I must take sharp left into town for there’s a day of people and things needing attention. Some glad morning we’ll get to remain in the fullness of that glory but for now there’s work remaining to be done.
This is rural Ireland where people greet each other so as always I gladly nod, wave or chat with shopkeepers, dogwalkers or folk in passing vehicles. Life is a pilgrimage and we’re in this together.
Into town and on the left there’s our ‘Meeting-house’ where we gather each Lord’s Day to ‘declare the praises of Him Who called us from darkness to light’, its spire faithfully pointing us all heavenward.
Past the supermarket and left again and now it’s uphill. Why does the last section of a journey often seem the toughest? Uphill, requiring patience, determination and perseverance, but then I’m heading home and that’s good. Home to loving welcome and fresh coffee!
And all the while I’m trusting that the Shepherd Who has accompanied and brought me safe thus far in life will never leave me nor forsake me but bring me one day to my heavenly Father’s house, forever.