Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In celebration

Yesterday I had the wonderful privilege of attending the funeral of the most amazing woman I've ever known.  I know that it may sound strange to some of you to regard a funeral as a privilege, but bare with me while I explain myself.

This dear woman is someone who has made a lasting imprint on my soul.  She lived life with joy, compassion, kindness, and most of all love.  In all that she did she was honest, she was real, she shared her heart, she shared her gifts, she shared her sense of humor, she shared her family, she shared her faith - all that she had and all that she was - she gave to others.  She laughed with many.  She cried with all.  She sang in joy, and in sorrow.  She lived life with a passion that I can only hope to emulate.  She cared for many.  She impacted thousands. She made your world a little brighter for having known her.  Her funeral was filled with laughter, tears and much singing.  We remembered funny stories from her life.  We remembered the times we had been blessed by her love and her care.  We remembered her spirit, and her tenacity.  Most of all we celebrated all that she was to each one of us.  She left a deep mark on my life, and will be treasured for ever, even though I have no more time to share with her.  

The thing that really impacted me was the number of people gathered together to celebrate her life.  There were hundreds.  People couldn't fit into the church and spilled out to the verandah and car park.  There were people from every generation, whole families who had been touched by her life and her love.  It was a true testament that a life well lived, shared with others, has impact - for generations.

It really got me thinking.  How astounding that one ordinary woman, living an ordinary life, could impact so many - truly extraordinary.  Sometimes we think we need to change the world to leave our mark.  We need to do something so noticeable, that hundreds of thousands would be amazed by our legacy.  We think big... of lasting change, of doing the impossible, of writing wrongs and changing lives.  All these things are good, and all of them will make a mark, but I think it's much much simpler than that.  If yesterday taught me anything its that to live a life full of love, and loving others, you can leave a legacy that lingers.  You can change people's lives, by changing their hearts for ever, and change generations to come, even after you are long gone, by living with love and grace.  You don't need to cure cancer, eradicate world poverty, fix global injustices - although these are all worthy and noble causes - you just need to love others, and show them what it is to live life with passion, conviction and compassion for all around you.

The challenge I ask myself today (and you) is how are you living your life?  What is the legacy you are leaving?  Are you leaving a mark on the souls of those around you?  Will they be forever changed (in a good way) for knowing you?