Tuesday, June 14, 2005

We headed over to Cincinnati earlier today to visit the cemetery where my Great-great-great-grandfather’s brother, Alexander McDonald, is buried. We had no idea what we were going to find, but Dad, Melissa, Jessica, Caleb, Abigail, Grace, our cousin Matt, and I headed off down I-70 towards Ohio. Amidst traffic and impatient children, we finally arrived at our destination.
I-70 traffic...what fun!
What a beautiful smile!
Happy children!
We drove through a gorgeous gate and stopped at the main office to ask a few questions and get a map. The man inside was very helpful and gave us some excellent directions. I picked up a few packages of Forget-Me-Nots and we loaded back up and drove through a very peaceful cemetery. The Weeping Willow trees, calm lakes and luscious green grass all seemed so at rest, so natural. Driving around a corner, we spotted a large white mausoleum with our family name engraved in large letters across the top.
McDonald engraved over the door.
The grounds had been well kept. The huge white building was right off of the lake. It was a very serene place, the only thing lacking were flowers. Then I remembered the seeds that I had picked up and started to make plans for planting them.
A view of the back.
A shot from the side.
The front of the mausoleum.
Excitedly climbing out of the van, we made our way up to the place where our ancestors lay. After making a quick round about the place, Dad, Matt, Grace and Caleb went to find out if we could get the key to open the doors. The girls and I explored the grounds, took several photos and planted the seeds on either side of the door.
Melissa and Abby in front.
The girls and I planting seeds around the door.
Abby planting Forget-Me-Not seeds.
The huge doors sealed the entrance, and in front of those, was an iron gate, locked both with a very old padlock, and a fairly new one as well. Standing on either side of the door, as though always on guard, there stood two beautiful statues of women. The one on the right held a vase, and the other held a torch in one hand, and in the other she was holding flowers.
A far away shot of the two women standing guard.
Melissa, Abigail and Jessica on the steps.
The lady on the right.
Both women and family name.
The lady on the left.
Abby at the doors.
While wandering around, we noticed a solitary white swan serenely floating along the lake nearby. We thought that it seemed a very fitting place for this beautiful creature. She was so white, the sign of purity, and she was so peaceful, so content.
The swan.
Taking a drink.
The swan.
The swan.
It started sprinkling, so we huddled under the doorway to try and keep from getting wet. The guys finally made it back and they brought with them a man who had the key to the doors. After unlocking the newer padlock, he fumbled with the old one and had quite the difficult time trying to open the old doors. Squeaking on their hinges, he first pulled back the two iron gates, and turning the old cross-shaped door handles, he pushed those heavy solid doors back. Holding back for a second, we slowly approached. The excitement soon returned, and we all clambered inside.
The girls at the door.
Waiting on the steps.
The beautiful handles.
Going inside.
There was a unique pattern on the floor. The first rectangle had an image of an hour glass, the second was a star, and the last was a lamp. Hopefully we will be able to find out what these images mean. On the far wall, close to the ceiling, there was a crescent shaped stained glass window. It was the only source of light once the doors were closed. Above the window, these words were engraved:

"The body returns to dust as it was, and the spirit to God who gave it."
Another photo of the window.
The star and lamp.
The hour glass.
Alpha and Omega...the beginning and the end.
One of the doors.
The iron gates.
The rain began to fall harder. We began to notice the lightening, which in our excitement had escaped us all before. While we were inside the mausoleum, a huge clap of thunder was heard and it echoed in the room where we all stood awestruck at the display of God’s power. Dad was walking around in the rain talking on the phone with his good friend, R.C. Sproul, Jr, and by the time we finally were able to get him off, he was soaked, so the only two photos I have of him, were not what agreeable to him. But, I’ve put them up because they were the only ones we were able to get, and I insisted that he get his photo taken at the mausoleum he wanted so badly to see. I am somewhat stubborn. ;-)
Dad at the entrance.
My wet Father.
All too soon for me, we had to make our departure. On our way back to the car, we turned to get a few last glimpses of that quiet place. As the doors were shut, we remembered the line above the window, that the body does indeed return to dust, exactly where it came from; and the spirit to God, who gave it. May God give us the strength and the grace to ever walk in His ways; to fight the good fight; to run the race that has been set before us. And when our appointed time arrives, may we enter His gates, see Him in His awesome glory, look into His wonderful face, and hear His voice say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
One last glimpse.
Doors closing.