- was a member of the Hall of Fame
- was a homemaker and much more
- won the City Bowling Tournament in 1969
- was a Sr. Vice President of Leasing
- enjoyed traveling and gardening
- was noted for his artistic abilities as a young child
- loved to cook and host gatherings
- was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving during the Korean War
- especially loved dancing, and had won trophies for dancing in the past
- enjoyed his wife’s cooking
- was an avid reader in the disciplines of art, politics, foreign language, literature, religion and philosophy
- enjoyed hunting, playing cards and farming
- had worked as a truck driver hauling milk
- was devoted to the grandsons
- was a member of the prayer chain
- was a man dedicated to his faith
Those are just a few comments I collected from today’s obituaries. They are probably common to any day, any place. They’re meant to communicate the essence of a person’s life, but for me they raise more questions than they answer. Did he enjoy his job? Why didn’t he do anything with the artistic talents from his childhood? What was it like for him in the war? What could he teach us from all he read? What was the favorite dish that his wife cooked? How did she feel when she danced? Was she a true “prayer warrior”? How did God work in his life to make him a man of faith?
An obituary is not even a good snapshot of a life. We can read about careers and hobbies. We can read about achievements and accomplishments. We can read about the high points, but no obituary can capture the essence of a life. So what does form the essence of our lives? Our tendency is to focus on our remarkable moments. The times when we won. The times where a lot of hard work culminated in something that we were proud of. Something that might even make others stand up and take notice. Certainly those times are important, but I have come to believe that…
…it’s not our accomplishments, but the way we live our time in-between that tells the true story of our lives.
As I look back on my life and then look forward into eternity, it becomes evident that most of my accomplishments will mean nothing. What will mean something – everything – beyond me – will be the way I treated my wife, what I taught my kids by example, the people I poured my life into to disciple and the common acts of service (especially to the disenfranchised). Did my attitude and demeanor bless or burden people? Did my words encourage and enlighten people or did they break their spirit? I pray God redeems the in-between times I have not lived well. May we commit to living well in the in-between times of everyday – beginning today.
The story formed from our everydays will be the wake that ripples throughout eternity.