There's nothing like a funeral to make you look carefully at your life. It's a time for contemplation, repentence, and most of all, grace. As a singer I have attended and performed many funerals. The most meaningful part for me, whether I shared the life we are celebrating or not, is when friends and family stand to recount a memory. Emotions sit right at the surface, people are vulnerable and transparent, even those who rarely cry, and the dead are honored in such a special way.
My grandfather died last week at the age of 79. Actually, he was a leap year baby and his birthday of February 29, 1928 afforded him only 19 real birthdays, as we always joked with him. I packed up our newborn, leaving the other three in Jason's care, and flew to North Carolina to attend the funeral, share memories with my family and support my Nanny. Zachary, though completely unaware of his effect on everyone, was a healing presence, a tiny angel sent to give solace.
We stood around before the actual service as friends of Papa poured in the church, took my Nanny in their arms and laughed and cried together remembering his life. As I looked at all of these men and women, most of them 70 or above, I was taken by the sheer amount of history in the room. Every one of them had a story. Each one had made mistakes in their lives and lived to tell about them. Maybe some were harboring feelings of pain and guilt even then. Their careworn faces smiled and their eyes shone as they opened their hearts to receive the blessings of friendship and fellowship as they celebrated my grandfather.
What will my legacy be? I am creating what will someday be my history. Now is my chance to write a story that my children, friends and loved ones will want retold again and again. Like Joshua and the Israelites, I am carefully placing stones day after day that will tell my story to the generations that follow.
Am I placing stones of worry? Frustration? Impatience?
Or am I tenderly laying stones of faith, mercy, love and the faithfulness of God?
It's amazing how much my children remember from day to day. It gives me pause to think that each action or word in my day could make or break theirs. And it's humbling to hear the positive words my friends and family use to describe me. Then again, it is an arrow to the heart to hear a rebuke from my husband or read scripture and know that God's discipline is upon me. What keeps me on the upward climb to Christ-likeness is knowing that my life has an eternal influence, or eternal consequences, depending on how I live it.
So as I stood back and watched the people who loved my grandfather fellowship with one another, I looked ahead to the time when people will meet to remember me. I pray that each moment in my life, the good and the bad, leads to a lesson learned. I want my legacy to be one that points others toward the saving grace of Jesus.
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.
Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one...
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