This week I attended the funeral of a friend’s mother. I had only met her a few times, and didn’t really know her, but by the end of the funeral had a great appreciation for her. As her story was told, with humour and pathos, in eulogy, poetry and images, it became clear that here was a person who had deeply and profoundly shaped the lives of those around her.
Three things occur to me upon reflection:
1. I want to own my capacity to influence those round me. As we celebrated the impact of one person’s life, it reminded me that we all send ripples into the world, via our words, our actions and our character. We don’t need to be famous, wealthy, or exceptional. We just need to be people who seek to do and be good.
2. I want to listen to people’s stories. As I listened last Monday I couldn’t help but feel, “I wish I had known her”. I heard a story of someone with great depths of resilience, character, and love; someone whose story had all the elements of greatness – childhood happiness and hardship, a great lifelong romance, trials and triumphs. What pleasure there was to take in hearing this story, and what wisdom to plunder. I reckon we all have great stories, but all too often we don’t pause long enough to listen, enjoy and grow.
3. I want to eulogise others before they die. At funerals we share how much a person meant to us. We tell the stories of how they impacted us. Why don’t we do more of that while they’re alive? It’s something Sandy and I have tried to make a part of our story, but I don’t think its possible to overdo it. I want to spend more time in praise of others.