loveI 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?