It’s been an interesting week. Three funerals in one week gives one a chance to ponder. One was the celebration of the life of a wonderful woman who graced the world for 90 years and was ready to get to heaven! Another was a woman who had a tremendous amount of influence in my life. Through her books and speaking, she touched thousands in a life changing way. And she touched mine. Through the years we became dear friends. She had known the height of success and the depth of feeling her time had come and gone. I wonder if she knew that the impact she had stood the test of time. I wonder if she knew how much it mattered.
The last death had a deep impact on our whole community. A well loved teenager struggled to believe that he fit in. We will never know all the reasons someone would choose to take his own life. And the lack of answers makes the process all the more painful for those left behind. All three of these people mattered greatly to those who loved them. Life will be different. And with all of life’s most important moments, the question is always….what do I need to take away from this? What does it have to teach me? Will I allow it to widen my heart so that I will come forth from this a little different than I was before.
I loved the sermon that one of the ministers preached this week. He said,”A life cannot be measured by what it accomplishes, but by what it sets in motion.” I’ve thought about this all week.
Each of these precious people left this earth having set some pretty incredible things in motion. The first beautiful lady left a legacy of love, faith and presence that is a beautiful touchstone for her family for generations to come.
The second affected multitudes with her books and speaking, but no dearer accolade could have been spoken than by three of her sons who said, “Mom truly loved everyone. She taught us how to love.” Well done, good and faithful servant. Because it doesn’t matter nearly as much how many you touch OUT THERE. Ultimately the true test of faithfulness is how we live and love under our own roof.
And lastly, the tragedy of this loss will effect this child’s family, friends and community for a long, long time. But God promises to work ALL things for good. And that good has already been witnessed. At his funeral, his dad, with great courage and through tears, stood to address the hundreds of teens in the crowd. He told them that his son hadn’t felt like he belonged but he DID belong…to his parents and sisters, to his family, his friends, his school and his community. He told them that each of them also belonged, and if they every thought they didn’t, to please wait…that they would come to think differently, and that he would always have his door open to talk to them.
In this age of oober connectivity, often we are not connecting. But that day, every eye was on this broken hearted dad, and I know that many hearts were being given grace to see in a different way. There is a heightened desire to be present to each other right now. People are talking more, looking each other in the eye…needing to connect. Ultimately this is what creates belonging, and when I truly believe that I belong, that my life matters, then I am better able to cope with the big and little storms that WILL come.
I ran across a quote of Pope Francis that really spoke to me this week. “Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It’s a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our hearts are filled with names and faces.”
It’s good to remember that this life has really never been about THIS life…it’s about building for the next life. And it’s about being present enough to our lives to fill our hearts with names and faces. That’s really what it’s all about.
One day it won’t matter what we’ve accomplished. But for those who come behind us, it WILL matter what our lives have set in motion. Let’s get on with it!