Whitestone – Tennessee Resort – Bed and Breakfast – Hotel
A visit to a cemetery in 1960 impacted my life.
In October of that year a man was killed in a bar fight on Royal Street in Jackson, Tennessee. He had no identification. The county morgue held the body for 30 days seeking to find someone to claim the body.
Nobody came forward. No family member, no fellow worker, no friend. Apparently nobody missed this unnamed man.
Finally the county contacted my pastor, Rev. W.M. Greer, to conduct a grave-side service at RiversideCemetery. He asked me to go with him. In a cold November rain we stood in the mud by a cheap casket and he said something.
Two grave diggers were the only other attendees at the “service” who were impatiently waiting to lower the casket and shovel in the mound of dirt on the unmarked grave. I was deeply moved by the loneliness. Who was this man? Did his mother know he was dead? Even though his picture was put in the Jackson Sun was there no one who had been touched by this man’s life?
Standing there in the rain I made a commitment that has impacted me everyday since then…
I WANT MY LIFE TO COUNT!
Every day I want to make a difference to someone—to love—to encourage—to lighten the load of those less fortunate. I want to be in mutual relationships at a level where interaction is so important (maybe even vital to a few) that any break in these connections causes a deep sense of loss.I pledged that day to live in relationship to others so that if I were gone I would be missed!
Since that dreary depressing afternoon at Riverside Cemetery 53 years ago, I have been very sure that I want to love and be loved. That’s the greatest joy on Earth.
– Paul Cowell