Of Tombstones and Stories
Caitlin Abrams, known on Tik Tok as @manicpixiemom has 1.9 million followers, which is an impressive number by any metric that you might use.
She doesn't do zany or risque videos, either, which makes the number of followers she's accrued even more remarkable.
Caitlin simply creates videos of her cleaning some of the oldest gravestones that she discovers throughout New England by first scraping them of moss and debris, and then using steel brushes, cleaning solution, and old-fashioned elbow grease.
As she cleans the tombstones, Caitlin tells the story of the person buried beneath them after painstakingly researching their history.
Like the story of Rachel Burton...
Rachel died of tuberculosis in 1790, and was suspected by local townsfolk of being a vampire and cursing her widow’s new wife with the same disease. They exhumed Rachel's body, burned her organs, and her husband’s current wife breathed in the smoke to undo the curse. Then she died too.
I don't know about you, but I find that kind of thing absolutely fascinating, and sobering, and sad all at once.
Here's what I love the most about what Caitlin does, though. She provides dignity to forgotten people, whose monuments have all but been erased by the ravages of time. And she tells their story to millions.
I wonder how many of us have moments where we wonder if we really matter.
I know I have had more than my fair share of times when I asked myself that very question, especially over the course of the last couple of years as the world shifted and the ground beneath my feet seemed far too unstable.
Maybe you've had those same thoughts. You might be wondering if you've done enough to be remembered well after you are gone. You might be feeling lost and forgotten, and alone.
It's in those moments of sadness and uncertainty that I long to fully embrace a beautiful and startling truth: God never forgets me, and God never leaves me alone.
My story, my journey matters to God---in all of its imperfections, twists, turns, peaks, and valleys. And so does yours. So does all of ours.
There is dignity in every person created in the image of God, which means all of us---even those of us who feel like our story has fallen short of memorable. This is the very essence of the Gospel, and it's what Jesus demonstrated time and again throughout his ministry.
Jesus showed everyone, including the very people who wanted him dead, that they mattered to God. He was so obsessed with this truth that he was willing to pay the ultimate price in order to prove it.
May you come to know just how much you matter to God. May you come to know that you will never be forgotten or left alone. May you come to know your worth, your dignity, and your purpose.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.