Sunday, November 12, 2006

How I want to be remembered...

It's been said that when my grandfather affectionally known as "Papaw" to all of us, died back in May of this year, it was one of the longest funeral processions in the history of Kennesaw, Georgia, the town where he grew up, raised his family and lived all his life. Papaw didn't have money, didn't have big political connections, he was a small town man who was well known for hard work and the value of his word. He worked hard, he raised a family, he wasn't perfect but people respected him. Maybe they respected him because they knew he was a "what you see is what you get" kind of man and he was a man of his word. My dad is a man of his word, he's much like papaw. Many people in my family are like that, not all, but many. With all their faults, they are decent, honest, respectable people and they are kind and generous to others. I judge them for their kindness and compassion, because that's what I believe God wants us to be.

We only have one chance at life on this earth and the things we say and do have such an impact on so many people. I don't know when my time to go will be but I'd like to be remembered someday for being the kind of person I was and how I treated others. I only hope that during the course of my life on this earth I have in some small way, positively impacted the lives of others.

Our lives aren't measured by fame or fortune. In the end, we are all judged the same. How did we live the life God gave us? What did we do with our talents? How did we give to others? It doesn't matter what religion we are either. A Jew can make as much of an impact as a Buddhist or a Christian or a Muslim. I believe in God's eyes, we are all the same. And I believe that life is a gift and we should not waste it being greedy or cruel or inhumane.

We should spend our lives being happy. For me happiness is being with my family and friends, and helping others. Helping others comes in many forms. I wish I could to it all and change the world overnight but I can't. I can't feed the starving kids in Sudan, I can't end homelessness in America, I can't end the religious fighting in the Middle East. I suppose that my greatest frustration in life is that I want to do it all but can't. Ahh but I can.....the little things I do..DO make a difference. So I can't change every stinking problem in the world? Who can? One person can't change it all but together everyone can.

What IS it I am supposed to do? I feel I am here for a purpose, something specific. But you know I'm beginning to think that after all this time wondering, perhaps I am serving my purpose right now and didn't even realize it? I think God meant for me to be questioning my life at this point in time. I don't know why but it's just meant to be. Some Christian friends will tell me one thing, some Jewish friends will tell me something else. I don't believe this has anything to do with religion, I think it has to do something deeper.

Every one of us has a reason for being here. Every life has a purpose. What is mine?

Life has meaning and every life has value, everyone has a purpose. If you're reading this and you are thinking that your life means nothing, if you think you have no value to the world, if you think that you are too old to achieve your dreams, if you are a teenager and your mother and father are strict and you think it's because they hate you, if you think that you have so much debt you will not ever be free, if you think that your marriage can never be saved, if you think you are too old to get an education and the job of your dreams, if you are depressed and lost, if you feel like you are in a rut and have no way out, if you feel like more money would make you happy, if you feel like your life has no purpose....... are wrong. Out of everything bad comes something good. We just don't realize it in the midst of turmoil. There are millions of people every day feel that in some way they are inadequate and that something is missing in their lives. I believe this is normal. But I also believe all people have the capability to be all they can be and live the life they want, a meaningful life full of love and happiness. Stop saying "I can't" and start saying "I can" and "I will" and then do it. If you want to learn to play piano do it, if you want to sing, do it, if you want a college degree, do it, if you want to have a happier marriage, get along iwth your children, if you want to get out of debt, DO IT, DO IT ALL.

Life is so short. I mean we get a finite number of years and then we are gone. We need to get busy LIVING!

The beauty in life and how you will be remembered is by how you treat others, it's your compassion, your understanding, it's what's in your heart. Do the right thing always, no matter what, always do the right thing and you will prevail. And live life, be happy, whatever it takes. Just do it.

And do yourself a favor and don't wait till you are at someone's graveside to tell them how much you loved them. Don't wait until it's too late. Share your joy, share your happiness, share your feelings with them now, while they can appreciate it, while they know and believe me, someday when it is their time, knowing those things may bring them great comfort. And it will bring you a sense of peace that yes, your life did make a difference.

Today I had this overwhelming emotional experience. I felt the need to cry while talking to my DH about how he's been working on changing his life. He has taken great strides in the last three days and I must say that these have been among the best three days in the entire five years we have been married. I think he's learning to find peace and with that I am so happy. But my happiness radiates from within me. Remember I once told you that I know I cannot find happiness anywhere except within myself. We have to be happy from within and then, only then, can we truly appreciate what we have in our lives and can we be happy with others.

Let me tell you something. During a casual conversation with DH today, I began to shed tears out of the blue. Immediately DH thought he'd said something wrong. I reassured him, it had nothing to do with anything he said. He hadn't said anything to upset me. Out of the blue, in complete surprise to me, and for the first time in years, I experienced feelings I hadn't had in so long, happiness, contentness, and peace. And this was completely unexpected and out of left field.

Imagine that...I hadn't experienced it in so long, that when it finally hit me, it overwhelmed me.

It was a turning point in my life, a major turning point, for me, and for DH because my happiness means a great deal to him. He seeks it too and I believe he's on his way was well.

I guess you could say that today was a great day eh?


  1. Anonymous11/13/2006

    I'm so glad you had a great day.

    Today we buried my 19 year old cousin who was killed in a car wreck last Wednesday. And, of course, you know less than 2 months ago we buried my 40 year old sister-in-law. How will they be remembered? With an incredible amount of love because they were wonderful people. I particularly miss Jeanette more than words could ever express. When I think of her I think of someone who loved her God, family, and friends in that order. She totally devoted herself to others. But in the end, it's not how she will be remembered that brings me such comfort it's how she was received when she entered to glories of heaven. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she had accepted Jesus as her personal saviour. Life here is just a vapor when compared to an eternity in heaven. I rejoice that it's not good bye, but see you after a while.--ST

  2. Jess, that was brilliant! And very, very true.

  3. Very nice. A great day, indeed.