I took this photo of Sophia, when she discovered the small lamb atop one of the headstones at Olivet's cemetery. Unlike the other grave markers, this one was at her level - and it has that cute little lamb that seemed to be placed there for her to pet and adore lovingly. She talked to the lamb for awhile.. babbled at it, smiled and then...uh, put her mouth around it's snout.
Headstones like this were common in the late 1800's to designate the death of a baby or child. I have seen these same headstones in other cemeteries in Washington, DC. Sometimes the marker for a child will have an embossed lamb, to symbolize the innocence of a child - but other times, the lamb will sit atop the marker like a sculpture.
While Sophia enjoyed this little lamb of God, I pictured the parents and family gathering 100 years ago at that spot covered in grief. As a mother, seeing the headstone causes my heart to ache as if was there that dark day. For Sophia, seeing the headstone was like meeting a friend.
On Easter, we celebrate that death is conquered through Jesus' resurrection. Our greatest foe, death, doesn't have the last word. Instead, something completely mysterious awaits us: Eternal Life. We don't know exactly what it will be like, but we are sure that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us and knows our every need.
That said, try as I might, whenever I see the headstones of those little lambs, I feel sadness, loss, confusion at the brevity of life. To trust that eternal life awaits me perhaps requires me to return to childlike wonder and appreciation for all that is around me.