“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp–or what’s a heaven for?” ~ Robert Browning
I recently attended a memorial service for a family member who had been in poor health for many years due to a severe stroke. Even though it was not a surprise to learn of his death, it was of course still a shock for the entire family to deal with. The service was attended by about two hundred people, and there was so much love expressed, that it was a beautiful tribute to this man and the life he had led for over seventy years.
As one person after another got up to eulogize the man they admired and loved, I was struck by the theme running through each speech – that here was a man who had, in his vigorous years, embraced life fully and loved others freely, and was always willing to reach out a hand to help someone in need. Even in his later years, he remained the emotional patriarch of a loving family.
I did not know many details of his early life and enjoyed learning more about him and his many accomplishments in his business and personal life.
It occurred to me that not only do we each quietly lead our lives and most people outside our immediate circle do not even know what we are about and what deeds we accomplish, but also that by taking a look at what others might say about you at a memorial service, you might notice opportunities for growth right now.
So here are the reasons I give for taking time to imagine what friends and loved ones would say about YOU if it was your funeral – not years from now after you’ve accomplished “more”, but now, today, based on the life you have led thus far.
1. Would people say that you were generous and giving of your time and resources?
2. Would they say you were cautious about living life and always took the easy way out, or would they speak with a smile about the great adventures you managed to have each day, even if you didn’t have money for fancy trips and travel?
3. Would they say you were loving and caring, always willing to listen to someone who needed comfort and support?
4. Would they say how much you would be missed, because you mattered so much to them and you left a big void with your passing?
Usually a death in our midst leads us to feel sad and question why the other person had to die so abruptly, or perhaps why they’d had to endure a long illness. But the passing of someone now on the next phase of their soul’s journey also brings us to questions about how we are living our own precious time here on this planet.
To your happiness and success,
Evelyn Roberts Brooks