Yesterday I received a gift that I wasn’t expecting. Have you ever had one of those days that you start off dreading but come to realize was something you needed to have happen in your life? That was yesterday for me. I had to attend a funeral. Not exactly what any of want to do, but I came away from the service feeling blessed that I was able to attend the funeral of a very well respected man. I had never met him. I know that may sound strange, thinking myself as blessed for being able to attend a funeral for a man I had never met, but it’s true. I was blessed to be there in the congregation helping to celebrate the life of a man whose life was well lived and who was beloved by a those who knew him. Yesterday was one of those days that I hope will stay with me forever.
I play tennis with this man’s wife. She is one of the kindest souls anyone could ever hope to meet. Through all of the years I’ve known her, she has been dealing with her husband’s declining health. She is one of those women I hope to emulate. Throughout his illness, I always saw her with a smile on her face and a brightness surrounding her. Her words to all of us, her teammates and her opponents, have always been kind. I’ve never heard a snappish or harsh comment come out of her mouth. She cared for her husband morning, noon and night and never complained. She talked about his illness and the difficulty surrounding caring for him but her stories about life with her husband were never laced complaints. She never said, “Woe is me. Life is so hard.” She exemplified her marriage vows…”for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.”She is a woman to admire.
It was at the funeral where I realized how blessed I was to see the entire picture of her life. The how and the why to who she is. Yesterday I was given a huge gift.
I listened intently as two of my friend’s three boys eulogized their father. They spoke with reverence and respect about the man they called “Dad.” But it was how they spoke about their father with admiration and love that was my gift. I sat wondering what kind of eulogy my own children would give me and it made me pause for a minute. Would I be eulogized with such love and respect? Would Stan?
It made me realize how important it is to live each day for someone else. I don’t mean that morosely, nor do I mean that we should become doormats for another. I mean it in the most basic of ways. The eulogies showed me how important it is to live your life honorably, with love being easily given and received. Yesterday I realized there are times in my life where I’ve behaved in ways that won’t get me a good eulogy.
I told Stan some of the stories from the eulogies. The story that impressed me the most though, and the one I stressed the most, was the story of how my friend’s husband was always there to help her if she needed. All she had to do with call him and he was there to help. It struck me how easy it for us, married or not, to forget how to help someone else. After I finished telling my story Stan, jokingly, asked me to scratch his back. He’s forever asking me to scratch his back. Some days it’s multiple times in a day that I’m asked to scratch his back. And some days, I just don’t want to be bothered. Some days I want to pull my hair out when I hear the request for the fifth or sixth time. But yesterday, even though he was joking, I got up from my chair and scratched his back. Yesterday, just for a moment, I lived my life for Stan.
After the whole back scratching request and talk of the funeral had died down a little, one of the kids came into the kitchen. I don’t remember who it was or what exactly happened, but Stan snapped at whoever it was for whatever it was they were doing. He looked up at me and said, “That’s not gonna get me a good eulogy, is it?” My response was a concise, “Nope.”
I hope to always carry the gift I received yesterday of how to live my life honorably and with love so that when the time comes for me to go my eulogy will be a good one. I won’t be able to come back and write my own so I better make my life a good one.
Oh, for the love of my children…