Monday, November 26, 2007

adversity and example

I recently went to another funeral. This funeral was one of the most uplifting meetings I've probably ever attended. Not that there wasn't crying - this was a funeral. Most of the crying was not being done by the family, but by the others in attendance.

The funeral was for a woman who died after a 25 year struggle with Parkinson's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. A number of things really struck me. In no particular order:

This woman planned her own funeral. She had been on the verge of death for a number of years. Her primary hope for her funeral was that it not be about her, but that through her funeral at least one person in the audience could become closer to Jesus Christ. That's how she lived her life, and that seems to be how she wanted to be remembered. This got me thinking about my own life, mostly in a positive as opposed to morbid way. What would I want my own funeral to be like? Not that I am even close to being ready to go. Which got me thinking some more . . . Not that many people want to die, but more often than not the timing of things is not their choice. What do I have left undone? Where should I be spending a little more time?

A number of comments were made about her illness, and how she chose to not let it define her. It's a horrible disease - two horrible diseases - and they both struck her quite young. She said that given the opportunity, she would not have changed the course of her life. She would not have chosen to be healed from her diseases. Being ill forced her/allowed her to do things that she would not have taken the time to do, and blessed her family in ways that they would not have been blessed had she been healthy her entire life. This got me thinking about my own adversities in life. Now, grant you, they are nothing compared to this. But with the benefit of hindsight - which is to say, at the time things were occurring I did NOT say HOORAY! I'M GROWING - I think I can say that I wouldn't change anything about my life. The things I learned through not so delightful times has shaped who I am. I wouldn't be the same person without those experiences, good or bad. Hopefully I've learned what I needed to from them so they don't have to be repeated, and I can experience new and different forms of 'torture' in the future. :)

One of her sons told of how when he was young, he remembers running all over the house yelling 'MOM' as he searching for his mother. He'd often find her kneeling by her bedside, praying. She never yelled at him to knock it off and leave her alone, but she also did not acknowledge that he was there until she had finished. This got me thinking about the example that I set for my kiddos, as well as the example my parents set for me. I don't think I have ever heard my father say an unkind word about anyone. He has certainly gotten testy at times - he is still human! - but he's never ripped on anyone. My mom never had to teach us about service, it's just what you do. Someone needs something, you help them out. I was trying to count how many 'strays' we took in to the 'Reese youth hostel' and I lost count at around 10. I'm sure I'm forgetting many. Thanks mom and dad for all you taught me by doing, instead of preaching. I hope that I can set the right pattern for my own kids.


Mia said...

One of my favorite song lyrics is "I can see a lot of life in you." I have known several people in my life who no matter what the adversities they have been through you can see their zest for life. I hope that no matter what trials I go through in life, at the end someone says, "you could always see a lot of life in her."

Disco Mom said...

Was this Sister Dunford (or close to that?) I adored her in the Boulder ward and hung on every word when she bore her testimony. This is an important post, one that resets perspective. I'm afraid my kids have not caught me on my knees much - I wait until they're asleep (if at all.) But it is time to start being the grown-up, isn't it? Thanks.