Monday, March 17, 2014

What Will They Say?

I attended a beautiful memorial yesterday for my Uncle Miles. He passed away last month. He would have celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary to my Aunt in July.

50 years.

There were various people that spoke about him during the memorial. His brother, a friend from college, a firefighter that knew him from church. My Aunt wanted people to get a sense of his life from childhood into his adult life. Mission Accomplished.

I don't see this branch of my family much so my knowledge of Miles wasn't vast. I learned a lot about him yesterday and many of those things left a smile on my face. I knew he was a man of faith, above all. I knew he had a landscaping business. I knew he was passionate and head strong mostly because he passed those traits onto his daughters.

As family and friends gave their tributes to him, I got lost in my own thoughts regarding what is said about people after they pass away. In most circumstances, the best features of a person's personality and life story are put on display. Sure, we all have demons. No one is perfect and obviously, their memorial isn't the time nor the place to speak about that.

But the thing that stood out to me was how generous Miles was. How he once picked up hitchhikers, took them to church, paid for their breakfast and drove them hundreds of miles away to their desired destination. Aside from the obvious that picking up hitchhikers is a bad idea, this was the example of the type of man he was.

I hope my life story continues for several decades. I hope I can accomplish important feats in my work life. I hope I successfully raise a child to be kind, loving and fun. I hope my marriage thrives year after year. But mostly, I hope I can think outside of myself more often. Not so at my memorial there are kind words spoken about me but because it is the right thing to do. Because I want to be the kind of person that sleeps peacefully at night knowing that I gave it my all that day and that maybe, just maybe, I helped someone or made someone's day brighter.

It is funny how the death of someone sparks life in people. It makes us reevaluate our lives and the people we want to be, the relationships we want to keep and the improvements we strive to make.

I believe a good reminder to do the right thing, the kind thing, throughout our lives is to ask, "what will they say about me" when my time comes to transition from this life.

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