Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Live a life that matters

This is a hard post. One about death. Again. I'm tired of writing about it but in order to mentally move on I need to.

An old friend from childhood lost her father last week. He was out playing tennis like he always did, every Monday and Wednesday and his heart just stopped. He died instantly on the court. He was healthy, fit, active, loving, proud. A great man, married to a great woman with four great kids and many grandchildren. It was one of those "this doesn't make any sense" moments. The funeral was hard to sit through. I watched the family process down the aisle and I knew that feeling, the song that played was the same one played at my father's funeral. I was unable to sing, my voice paralyzed by the huge knot of ache in my throat and my heart. The sermon was heartfelt and intimate, this man and his family made an impact on the community and the congregation. The priest, a close family friend of ours as well was visibly shaken as he began to speak. The sudden tragicness of it all had me feeling as if I was at my father's funeral, reliving those moments, the words, the songs, the disbelief. In front of me and behind me sat widowed parents of classmates and friends, clearly a club was forming and not one that anyone wants to be in or join. I sat there and wondered who was next.

My mom and I held hands with a firm grip. We cried together. We listened to the story of how my friend's father woke early to play tennis, usually much before her mom woke up, but on this particular morning she was up before he was looking out at a beautiful sunrise. He kissed her and said goodbye and she asked him to just look out the window at the beautiful sunrise for a minute before leaving for his tennis game. He did, they sat together looking at that sunrise for a great few minutes before he was off. Sunrises will never be the same for anyone in their family.

Wake early, watch the sunrise, you never know what the day will bring.

Live a life that matters
Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant
Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.


Anonymous said...

Amy, what an absolutely brilliant message! Jane

Anonymous said...

Is that message original or a quote/ At my stage in life, it is certainly something to think about. My kids aren't as verbal as you. Kudos to you. Jane

Amy said...

This was a quote that was read at the funeral.