Saturday, March 28, 2015
The Beautiful and the Dead Rest (Cont.): Platypus Travels Part LXIII
Revered Mills served for 32 years as "the first and faithful minister of the Gospel of Christ at Ripton" until his death at the age of 79 in the year 1776. Though the graveyard Reverend Mills and his wife are buried in is now adjacent to Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Mills was a Congregationalist and served at the Puritan church that once occupied the spot where the gas station now stands until it was removed to the Victorian Gothic structure across the Green. Mrs. Mills' epitaph as "the amiable consort" of her husband is darkened by the addition that she died "a lingering and painful death". Though the final portion of the stone is obscured by weeds, it gives assurance to the reader that the "happy pair" are now united in heaven.
I helped lead a group of seniors on a trip to Italy a few years back and we visited one of the catacombs in Rome. We were with two other groups and one of my students, a practicing Christian, fell in with students from another group who were not. They asked my student why he was so happy to be in the catacombs when they found the tunnels fearful and oppressive. He responded that for him it was a trip to visit family and explained the Christian belief in the Resurrection of the Dead and the unity of all believers as siblings in Christ. Though it wasn't exactly a comfort for them, the other students admitted that they could see his perspective and that it made more sense of the experience. I remembered what my student said because that's what it feels like for me when I go wandering through the old graveyards of New England. At any point, I might discover family.
Rest in peace Reverend and Mrs. Mills. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.