I went to a funeral on Saturday. The lady whose life we were celebrating died on All Saints Day, a fact that did not go unnoticed by those in attendance. The church was full, a testament to the many, many people who loved her. I am hopeful that her husband of 62 years and her 3 sons were comforted by the number of people who wanted to be there to say “we loved her too.” Her life told a very good story and her story changed each of us who had the privilege of knowing her.
I knew her because she and her husband were long time volunteers at the Lamb Center. She liked to tell jokes and she had a joyous sparkle in her eye that you could see from across the room. She was funny and kind and full of life. While I didn’t know her well, the stories shared by her family and friends were consistent with what I had experienced in the relatively short time I had known her. The most beautiful epitaph shared on Saturday was this: “Her ministry was love. And she poured out love everywhere she went.” I saw her ministry of love in action and I’m grateful that a little of that splashed on me. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.
As I have shared already, one of the speakers at the conference last week suggested that we would benefit from asking ourselves “How do I want to be remembered?” Going to a memorial service is a great reminder of this truth. If I want to live an intentional life of focus, as opposed to the drifting life of reaction, I must choose the direction that I am going. Understanding that I am a work in progress, I still need to figure out where I am headed. How do I want to be described by my friends and family at my funeral? What words would I hope would be carefully chosen to describe the impact my story had on those I love?
I like the idea of someone describing me by saying “her ministry was love.” That inspires me and gives me focus as I choose how to spend my time and energy. A worthy goal, an admirable aspiration, a target for which to shoot. And it fits with what Jesus told the man who asked Him to simplify all the commandments. In a word, He said, “Love.” Not always easy, but very simple. I like simple.
What would you like for people to say about you at your funeral?