Overwhelmed, challenged, somewhat paralyzed – all feelings I’m struggling with as I labor to draft my mother’s obituary.
How do you sum up someone’s life in 300 – 500 words or less? The task of being factual and still descriptive seems not only challenging but somewhat unfair to the one who has no voice in the matter.
I pealed through online suggestions. Who knew there were rules and basic etiquette to writing an obituary. Once again, I’m faced with the blaring reality that one day someone will have to do this for me.
The examples were fairly generic. The deceased was usually spoken of favorably. Unless a tragedy or illness was to blame, their passing was described as “peaceful”. Along with a few sentences listing achievements or hobbies, the articles were merely simple anecdotal summaries.
I learned our one final published epitaph is nothing more than a short tidy biographical essay with many missing pieces.
We don’t read about the disappointments, failures or tragedies the person encountered over their lifetime, even though they’re usually the very episodes that shape us into who we are. Don’t you think those facts would be the most interesting to read?
How different an obituary would be if the lists were of our personal scars rather than our accomplishments or snippets of our ordinary days. It seems a shame to scan the peaks and miss the seemingly mundane.
We live in a culture that elevates success, especially after someone is gone. The longer our list of degrees and achievements the more notable we are. And when we’re gone, our failures are usually forgotten or downplayed.
Have you ever imagined writing your own obituary now so someone else doesn’t have to do it for you? In some respects, that’s exactly what we’re doing – every single day.
What a different scenario we’ll encounter when we cross from this life to our next. Not one minute will be missing from the perfect records kept on our behalf.
So what do you want said of you? With this – again, I feel overwhelmed, ill-equipped and paralyzed. I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting my life to matter – to be more than a simple statement lost somewhere in a newspaper or public record.
Today I choose to believe the truth:
The truth about who I am.
I was fearfully crafted and not one minute of my life is hidden from God. Psalm 139
The truth about where I’m going.
I will revisit every minute of my life when I leave this life for the next. Romans 14
The truth about what really matters.
Like Jesus, my scars will be turned into marks of beauty. John 20
THIS WEEK’S TASK – believe the truth and write a rich narrative for the story of our life, one we’ll be proud to re-read over and over again.