Category Archives: Running

Small Gestures of Kindness

Most of you know I live out in the country in Mississippi.  The poverty in Mississippi in some areas is staggering.  I’m going to tell you a little story about the poverty in the area in which I live AND the kindness I witness on a recent run.

There is a small country church a few miles from my place.  I’ve met many of its parishioners on Sunday morning runs (before I head off for church myself) and have grown to enjoy the brief interactions we have.  Super friendly folk!  They cheer as I ran past their little church and ask about training and upcoming races.  I ask about their family and wish them a great worship service.

We’re neighbors.  That is what we do.

This small church has a tiny cemetery.  There aren’t that many graves but there are quite a few recent graves.

Probably a year back, I stumbled upon a family trying to have a private service for someone that I’m going to assume, was another family member.

Bless them, they didn’t have two pennies to rub together and they had cobbled together a pinewood coffin that I KNOW would not meet safety standards for burial.  I know there’s certain rules that have to be met to bury a person in the big and impersonal *IMO* cemeteries.  You purchase the fancy, satin lined coffin and then the vault in which you place the coffin before the whole she~bang gets buried into the purchased burial plot.

Funerals and burials are expensive!

This dear family didn’t have $15,000 to pay to bury their loved one so they have gone to the local lumber yard and purchased the bare minimum to build their own coffin.

Out of respect to the family, I stopped my run, took off my hat and bowed my head to show the family I was sorry for interrupting their private time and immediately changed my route.  They did not need me running through their grief.

Over this past year, I’ve noticed more and more small, private family burials of the same nature and I’ve watched this little cemetery grow.  I’ve kind of come to the conclusion after noticing things going on here that this was a paupers cemetery!  I’d read of places like this but had never actually seen one before.

There’s quite a few mounds of dirt in the small corner of the church property.  The other thing I’ve noticed is that none of the plots were marked.  Sure, there was a hand made cross on some of the graves but no official head stones…not that this kind of a thing matters.

Then this past Wednesday I was running past this place again.  I noticed something new.  Yes, there was still the mounds of fresher graves BUT every single grave had a brand new head stone!  Somebody had gone to the trouble and expense to make sure each and every saint in this cemetery was honored with their own marker.

Call me strange but this made my heart smile!

A simple gesture but one, that I feel, was probably the kindest thing I’ve witnessed in a very long time.