“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon L. Alder
I don’t know about you but I often wonder what is my purpose? Why was I born to this particular family, in this particular time period? Why am I who I am? In contrast, Are we just here by accident? Are our interactions inconsequential? Are we merely here to focus on self, live our lives and hope for the best? I prefer to believe we are all here for a purpose. That purpose is usually one that is greater than self.
Recently, my father in law died after many years of illness. We spent the week after his passing planning his funeral service, receiving visits and phone calls from family and friends, and listening to stories about the impact my father in law made upon their lives. As we grieve we are comforted by these stories. This man who lived a simple life as a husband, father, mail carrier and deacon in the church impacted the lives of so many people. The same themes of strength, humility, and service were consistent in every story told. I began to ponder. Did he realize his impact as he was living his life? That question led me to ask, Do I realize my impact as I live my life? Do I take every interaction for granted as if it is of no consequence? Do I live my life with purpose?
I believe to live your life on purpose requires a shedding of self centered thinking. If we really understood the importance of our lives and the effect they have on others we might be a little more careful of the words we speak. We might be willing to be inconvenienced from time to time. We just might be able to help make the world a little better place.
I am inspired by the life of service, humility, and selflessness exhibited by my father in law. My hope is that I will learn from his example and never again take for granted my impact on the lives of others. When we look at a life in an obituary there is the date the person is born a dash and then the date they die. The fundamental question is for us, what will that dash represent?