I recently attended a funeral for a person that died very suddenly and unexpectedly. We attended the funeral service: a wonderful service and there were many people there to celebrate his life. What struck me this, was that in the end, there was one collage of pictures, one table of artifacts that were important to that person (a guitar, a hat, a water bottle, a hockey stick, etc.), and one hour of recalling the key points of his life with a few stories thrown in. After that, most people who attended moved forward for the most part (with those closest still grieving of course). I know that people are really interested in the lunch that usually follows the funeral.
We sometimes live our lives, worrying, fretting, complaining, catastrophizing situations, getting overly upset over situations, what someone said (or didn’t say), our plans, our influence (or lack thereof), our short term and long term plans that happen (or don’t). After all of our lives, our toil, our concerns, our efforts, most will end up with one collage, one table of artifacts, one hour of formal memories and a lovely lunch for the attendees.
This really bothered me and my spouse wisely said, all of the good we do, the prayers carried out through us, the evangelizing we do to bring others closer to Jesus, is what lives past that table, that collage, that one hour. That is how we live on with eternal ripples in the world for Christ. It has reshaped how I look at things (at least for now).
My husband, who works as a nurse with the elderly, has had the unique opportunity to walk that final walk with many people, heading to their eternal destination. It is during that time that he has been blessed to gain a keen insight that many are not allowed to intimately witness, espeically on a regular basis. Being his wife, I get the residual wisdom from his experience. Most of the people, not surprisingly, have no care for any worldly good or item any longer but are eager to have their family and friends there to pray, visit (with or around them), reminisce, laugh, listen to music together or just simply to be. It has given my husband a regular reminder of the finality of our lives that we must all face and has helped him to re-prioritize his daily life for which I am grateful. On a side note, he is really into stretching and improving his flexibility which apparently is key to growing older as well.
What does this mean for my own life as a child of God, navigating this fleeting world. I am here to make an impact that will live beyond the funeral artifacts and pictures. Am I living in such a way that will have any long term ripples for those around me? Will they come to know, love and serve the Lord more completely because I was here for the time allowed? I challenge you to live each day to create holy ripples that will live past you and your earthly time. Mother Teresa wisely said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”