Big World Small Boat

Private Diary of A Priest. OK, so we're not all angels...Everyone needs a place to get things off their chest! And yes, I do talk to God about it all! Even He has a sense of humour! Want proof? Well, he made me, didn't He? Oh, one last thought-If you don't like what I've written, please keep in mind - it's MY diary. Go write your own!

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Location: England, United Kingdom

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As Long As We're Remembered

There’s a Russian proverb that says ‘Our spirit lives on as long as we’re remembered.’

Our local cemetery is arguably one of the most beautiful in the south of England. The unique designs of some of the headstones are a touching tribute to the sacred memory of its inhabitants. And it’s not unusual for families and individuals to spend time, not only to honour those who are interred there, but also to enjoy its serene and beautiful surroundings.

But there’s a blight that is engulfing the cemetery. From the hilltop, as you look out towards the sea, over the acres of monuments that serve as symbols of affection from surviving family and friends, hundreds of the fine marble and granite masonry tributes lay flat on the ground.

This hasn’t come about as a result of vandalism. It has occurred as a consequence of our government’s sweeping paranoia over the litigious nature of today’s society. Over time, some of the stones have shifted in the permeable soil, thus creating the possibility that should a child or vandal pull on one of the stones, it could shift and thus continue its gravitational journey downward, causing injury or worse. It has happened in another region, once, eleven years ago. And, of course, the parents of the child who pulled the stone over and was crushed, sued the local council.

In response to this possibility, the stones have been laid down. Letters have been sent to last known addresses, offering the recipient the opportunity to restore the memory of their loved one. But if the letters are returned, or if there is no reply, the stones will be removed. And the named memory of the departed soul will be eradicated.

It is not meant as a poetic statement to say that the very nature of our nation’s existence was built upon our resilience and our steadfast principles of honour. In the past, if you tripped and fell over, you got up off the floor, dusted yourself off and just got on with it!

But today, our society has become addicted to seeking ways to blame others for our own negligence or acts of stupidity. And it would appear that our government has no interest in the preservation of individuals who are no longer able to speak for themselves or pay taxes to support the perpetuity of their memory.

So in a short time those stones will be removed. The tears that were wept, the sacrifices that were made to pay for the monuments, the generations of care that was given to the grave – all will be wiped away. And the names and memories of those individuals will disappear.

As we walk through the cemetery on this early spring morning, we call out those names one last time. And in this final tribute, we are reminded that there is life immortal that shall survive the grave.

And their imperishable spirit is forever with the Lord.

These photos from Bexhill Cemetery are only a small sample of the beautiful masonry tributes that are currently at risk. Further information regarding Bexhill Cemetery is available from Rother County Government and Bexhill Today news. The entrance to Bexhill Cemetery is located at the corner of Turkey Road and Saint Mary’s Lane.

I share in the frustration over how to address this situation. Should Rother council fail to follow Health and Safety laws, the cemetery could be forcibly closed, with its gates locked, thus preventing anyone from visiting the cemetery until such time as the safety directives are followed. It is truly a paradoxical situation.

One thing I do beg of you, however, is please do not harrass or attempt to intimidate the cemetery manager over this situation. She is not the creator of these laws! She shares in the same frustrations as the rest of us over this matter. So, please, please, leave her alone! Otherwise I may have to come have a word with you! And you certainly wouldn't want that! :-)

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