There may not be a more reflective time than attending a funeral. Especially if it is for someone very close to you.
Today we laid to rest my maternal grandmother, LaNelle Poole.
Amid the sobs, well-wishes, and visits with family that I see too infrequently, I contemplated life. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Well…maybe not the way I do it.
Recounting the wonderful woman my Grandma Poole was for people that have never known her seems a little fruitless. She’d say it was silly to try. Something that I believe she would approve of, and that she and I talked about more than once, is to talk about a lesson learned.
The preacher, an old family friend, did his best to convey a lesson from the podium. It was one I have heard many times and is primarily directed to offer comfort to the surviving family. A message of life eternal and celebrating on high.
The message that started forming in mind though was not one of comfort for those listening, but discomfort. Where I do believe and agree with the preacher about a loving God and the promise of everlasting love, I disagree that the focus of that moment should be on the future.
In that moment, all I could think about was the promise we have everyday. That the greatest gift may be eternal, but the gift of our every day is what we are given to work with now.
We have too many ways to pacify ourselves into inaction and stay comfortable. Losing a loved one sucks! We want to be, and should be, comforted. But to lose the power of the moment by not seizing our potential, is to dishonor the one lost.
Cry, mourn, feel the pain of loss, celebrate their memory, and love those around you… then get off your butt and go do more with what you’ve been given!
Want to honor someone you’ve loved and lost? Make their memory mean something by using it to become great. Not OK, great.
Tell a story of inspiration and gratitude. A story of how your life really began when another ended.
I don’t believe that the death of our physical body is the end. I do believe that what lies beyond death is beauty and love beyond comprehension. I also believe that this life is amazing, and living at any level other than your highest is a disservice to God.
We are not here to eek through until death. Our purpose is to have life and have it at the height of abundance.
I miss my Grandma Poole. I hurt for my Mom, uncle, and everyone else who feels her absence. But I’ll be damned if I let this be counted as only a loss. There is massive gain if we are willing to accept it.
A gain in perspective and motivation. A rare chance to reach outside of ourselves for permission to be more.
The analogy of comparing the brevity of life to the dash on a tombstone is overplayed, but useful. Deciding what you want people to say about the short time between your birth date and death date is a somber and moving experience. Today though, I’ve decided I would like to remove it from my eventual resting place.
Instead of dash… I want a box wrapped in a bow. They can carve angels and pictures of cars into granite, so why not?
My life, your life, my grandma’s life, is not a dash. It is a gift. Remember to honor the giver by using that gift to its absolute maximum.
Be your best…and live your gift!