Life is short isn’t it? I have been reflecting on life and death this week and those thoughts inspired this blog post. I once led a bible study & one of the exercises that the author encouraged us to do was to think about our own funerals. If a loved one delivered a eulogy what would they say? How will people remember you and the life you lived? How do you want to be remembered?
I am 38 years old and have attended lots of funerals at this point in my life. Many of my best friends in this world, including my husband buried a parent way too soon & over the last year I have attended at least three funerals for parents of friends that I have known my entire life. Funerals are a somber affair and our earthly hearts hurt because even though we know death for believers just means that they woke up in Heaven, our hearts ache for the loss of our normal and what could have been. I was just at a funeral earlier this week for a precious lady that I have known my entire life. Mrs. Gloria left this world and woke up in glory & she left a legacy of love for her family. There was never a time that I bumped into her that she didn’t tell me that she loved me before we parted & I know that was common practice for her with everyone she knew. When I shard that with my husband after her passing he said “she always told me that too.” What a sweet way to be remembered.
When you grow up in a small town like I did, everybody knows everybody & by nature we just show up for each other. There is a bitter sweetness to tragedy & loss in a small town because your people just show up in droves. They bring food, they clean your house, they hug you & do whatever needs to be done. Sometimes they just sit with you but the bottom line is that they show up. It is a sight to behold. Every time I go home for a funeral I am thankful for where I came from and the natural love that flows from small places.
I knew Mrs. Gloria my whole life as did my husband. Since we both grew up in the same small town we have many of the same memories and grew up around the same people because if anything we serve a God of details. Mrs. Gloria’s oldest daughter, Anna, was about my age and we grew up together hanging out in Athens tailgating and learning football with our Daddies & the tailgate crew. We also went to school together, swam at the Gordon Pool with all the other hometown kids & played at the ball field. Mrs. Gloria had lots of nieces and nephews and two of those were Jennifer and Jonathan. Jennifer and I were best friends and played ball together all through childhood and it just so happened that her brother, Jonathan, and my husband, Brad were also best friends. All of that to say, we spent a lot of our childhood with those friends and their big ole family which included Mrs. Gloria. She was funny, she was gracious and she loved people.
While I was standing at Mrs. Gloria’s graveside service earlier this week, I was standing between my husband and my 84 year old grandmother. My grandmother was talking to another hometown friend and the friend said something about it being nice to have people stand up to speak and share nice stories about the deceased at funerals. My wise grandmother in her southern drawl immediately said “yes it is, by the time you die, you done preached your own funeral” then if she had a mic she could have dropped it. There is such truth in those words and it has really stuck with me. She probably doesn’t even remember she said it. It just left me reflecting on my life and how I’m living it & that ultimately actions speak louder than words. We are all works in progress & I know we all desire to be remembered well so today, I challenge you to sit with yourself for a while and think about who you are and what kind of legacy you are leaving & how you want to be remembered. The good news is that if you still have breath, you still have time to get it right.
Go and be the light! God bless you all – thank you for reading and following! (P.S. -tell somebody that you love them today)