Perhaps one cause for the confusion about the inscription on the cemetery bench is the failure to distinguish between the source of the message and the message itself.
As we search for truth we can miss helpful messages that come from organizations whose basic premises we do not accept. That shouldn’t preclude our subscribing to one of their promotions that might be of use to us in our own struggles. For example, if we support and vote for the Conservative Party of Canada, that doesn’t mean we can’t applaud good ideas and initiatives from any of the other federal political parties.
Likewise, an inscription on a park bench which speaks to us of life can still be accepted without our supporting, identifying with or joining the organization that proclaims it.
I see no irony in the situation that on a park bench in a cemetery which holds and protects the remains of loved ones and reminds us of death, that we should also be stirred to the possibility that death is not the end of mortal man, but that there is hope in his or her continuation. There is irony, however, in that one or two people visiting the resting place of departed love ones are reminded of life and that this offends them. Should we then cut down all of the trees, the grass that covers our walking path or the flowers that beautify our stay. After all, they speak of life too, and each spring powered by a force that we do not fully understand renews the life they seem to have lost in winter.
Rather than be offended by or made uncomfortable by a three-word sign that also reminds us of life’s renewing powers, let’s be grateful for one that does just that.
In a world becoming increasingly consumed by destruction, violence and war, we need to herald voices that give us hope that good things will return. Among those good things is the expectation that we will see and embrace loved ones again.
Our town council made a wise decision in not voting to remove the three words “Taber Pro-Life” from a cemetery bench. They hold too much hope and promise for the 99% of those who visit the cemetery and read the message.