As I walked into the funeral home I saw a woman and a man by the casket. There was a woman sitting in a chair in the back of the room with two other adults in their 30’s standing off to the side.
I went up to the couple and introduced myself, “I’m Pastor Zehr, I have been asked to do the funeral for Mr. *****”. Are you members of the family?”
They told me they were second cousins but they wanted me to know they had been very involved in taking care of the deceased over the last year. I thought it was odd that they wanted me to know (my being a guest pastor and a stranger to the family) how involved they were in his care.
I asked where the wife of the deceased was and they motioned to the woman up by the casket.
I went over and introduced myself explaining the funeral home had asked if I would come to officiate the service. She introduced me to the man beside her as their attorney.
I had noticed on the obituary form that they had three sons. I asked if I could meet them and she explained quietly that they had a fishing trip planned and they decided they did not want to cancel.
When I had talked to the wife the day before, asking her for information about her husband so I could prepare for the funeral,she had not been very forthcoming. Now I knew why.
As she told me about her sons trip, my mind started getting a picture of a man with a lot of money but not much love in his life. His attorney, wife and distant cousins were the only ones present for the funeral.
His own sons thought their fishing trip was more important than their father’s funeral. The cousins were there to make sure the wife saw their loyal support so they would get something from his will.
I had never officiated a service in a funeral home where there were only 5 people present. Rather than having people sit in the room full of empty chairs, I invited people to gather around the casket.
It was one of the hardest and saddest funeral’s I had officiated.
I felt a different type of sadness that day. It was not the sadness of saying goodbye to a loved one but a sadness of a life empty of love.
It wasn’t like this was a homeless man, he had plenty of money but he was homeless in a different way.
I tell that story too many groups when I am asking the question,”What do you want to get out of your life?” Sometimes people will ask how they can live life to the fullest?
This Is What I Tell Them
Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
Than what is important?
Here is the Secret to Get More Out of Your Life?
The secret is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion,courage, or sacrifice that enriched,
empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
The key is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Don’t live a life of misery but of Joy!
Be a Miracle