As I sat down at my computer today, I noticed the newspaper was left on the table.
Being the curious person that I am (think of the dog in “Up”…squirrel!), I decided to see what was on it. Gently folded and showing the bottom of the page, there was an obituary.
Now keep in mind, it wasn’t anyone I knew. I’m thankful to say that so far my friends and family are currently alive and well. But seeing this obituary, and wanting an excuse to put off the writing I so desperately needed to be working on, I picked it up and read what was on it.
There, beneath a picture of a smiling middle-aged woman who looked awfully familiar, was the story of a waitress. Like most obituaries, her story had the basic facts. She was born and raised in the area. She was married and had kids and grandkids. She was a member of the local church. She graduated from the local high school. She worked as a waitress her entire life.
But amidst the small list of accomplishments, there followed an even bigger story. Instead of listing every major life goal she achieved, every award and accolade, over half of the obituary told the tale of a lady who valued kindness and helping others and encouraged other people to do so. What she took pride in wasn’t what she did in her life, it was what she did with it.
To say that it touched my heart is putting it mildly. And it got me thinking…aren’t our lives the same way? As much as I hate to admit it, we’ll all have our own obituary one day (hopefully a long time away from now!) But what will it say?
Were we the heroes or the villains? Did we save the world or harm it? Were our problems solved or held on to? Were the endings happy or sad?
We’re all given one life to live and we’re meant to live it to the fullest, but it’s our choice in what to do with the days that are given. Though I didn’t know the waitress personally, I’m confident to say that in her story, she was the hero. She did save the world. She solved any problems that she could, and her life was happy. She lived life to the fullest, choosing kindness and service as her calling in life.
And so that leaves us. What stories are our lives telling?