I was in Memphis this weekend - very briefly - and had the opportunity to do some touristy things. Not a lot, b/c I'm cheap and didn't have a ton of time, but some. I saw some of the most beautiful skies during the trip - God truly is an artist.
The band geek in me wanted to go see the Peabody ducks marched into the hotel while King Cotton March by John Phillip Sousa played but it would have thrown off my schedule too much. I plan on trying to see it the next time I'm in.
I did take the kids to see a US Army Reserve center that was by our hotel, we also played in an AWESOME Southern Magnolia tree. After that I drove by Graceland (I'm too cheap to pay to go in, and frankly I don't think Elvis is interesting enough to warrant the lines that were involved) went to the botanical garden (well worth the $5) and then to the Elmwood cemetery. I'd heard there were a bunch of Civil war soldiers buried there - thus the visit.
At some point, though, I came across a headstone for a young man who had died recently. Someone visited the site recently and left a note and a pack of gum. Somehow that turned the whole trip into something more real. This wasn't just history. These soldiers, these mothers, these children - people loved them. People had to bury them. People miss(ed) them. My mind turned to a church family who lost their child last year during birth. I can't imagine having to bury my children - frankly, I pray I never have to know what that is like.
Some of these people went on to a fullness and joyfulness in Christ, some of them didn't though. Some people that mourned did so as those who don't have any hope beyond the grave. But some (like the family from my church) mourned in a different way, in a way that pointed to the Cross and the greatness of God. It was a very somber end to my first Memphis visit, but I think it was a good way to end it.