Ever since the funeral of our friend Brian, I've been thinking a lot about what I hope will be said at my funeral and all the things I hope I'm remembered for. I've also thought a lot about what NEVER matters at a person's funeral; what car they drove, for instance, or how much money they made. Not really even how successful they were. Usually the things that are mentioned are about their character. What or whom they loved. How they made a difference in other people's lives. Everyone knew that Brian was a unique, authentic guy who was passionate about his family and friends. No one mentioned if he made a million dollars or if his house was immaculate. At that point, those things obviously didn't matter. In fact, they didn't matter even when he was alive. What truly mattered was the kind of person he was. And of course, how much he loved Jesus.
It's been a real contemplative, introspective week for me. It's been good. I feel like I've been given a gift of a more eternal perspective. In the end, the things I don't think will matter will be the clothes I wore, the size I was, how well I kept my house clean, whether my kids were successful or well-dressed, or how many things I marked off my to-do list each day. No one will be checking to see if there were dishes in my sink. Nobody will be looking at my to-do list on the fridge and checking to see if I marked everything off. Very few people will even see my bank account, and those that do will not judge it. What will matter will be WHO I was- to my children, my husband, my family, and all my friends.
Thinking that way helps me not to stress when I can't afford the nicest salon, or a new pedicure, or that great new dress I saw at Parisian. It helps me not to stress when the kids are all so needy or are trying my patience for the twelfth time in one hour. It helps me not to scold Brian for tracking in the mud, but to be thankful that his feet made it home from wherever he was and into our home. It helps me not to cry when one of the kids breaks a dish or writes on the walls, but to be thankful that I have been blessed with healthy children. It helps me not to feel pitiful and whiny when I have piles of laundry, but to be thankful that we have clothes to wear and a nice washer and dryer to keep them clean.
It also makes me think about the character qualities I want to be remembered for. One of those qualities is graciousness. Sometimes when I'm running an elementary schoolroom, a preschool, a nursery, a laundromat, a cafeteria and, often, a bed and breakfast in my home, I'll be honest; it's hard to be gracious. My human tendency is to complain about having to wash the sheets and fix a nice breakfast when guests are in the house. Yes, it takes a higher perspective to be gracious in the midst of stress and strife. But it is so worth it. I've been around some people that I would definitely call gracious, and they just inspire me. They are the people who just make things beautiful wherever they go. Maybe not even in a physical way, but just their presence makes the air more beautiful. They give without begrudging; they serve without complaining; they love without expecting something in return. I'm asking God to make me a more gracious person. I think the world needs more gracious women to bless others. I'd like to be one of them.