I’ve done a lot of funerals in my 30 plus years of pastoral ministry, but this one was the worst…ever!
It was a bleak, wintry day and I was already a bit blue. The snow machine of Lake Erie had kicked in and I was driving under gray skies into the west side of downtown Cleveland. This once bright and promising Leave it To Beaver neighborhood of the 50’s, was now stained from wear, and the snow and cold only added to the dreary scene.
I drove through the slush, found my way to the well-used funeral home, stepped inside the dark foyer, with the organ dirge already droning – unaware my day was about to get even more bleak.
I’d made a commitment to someone I barley knew, to officiate the funeral of someone that the person I barely knew, barely knew. It turned out that the funeral was for an old man who had lived well into his 90’s. And here’s where the day gets even more depressing.
Only 9 people showed up and 7 of them were forced to.
(That’s no exaggeration!)
Evidently the old man had not only been really old, but he had been really mean and no one – absolutely no one – had anything good to say about the man laying in the box up front (can you say “awkward”), and I certainly wasn’t going to make something up, so I read a few scriptures (that’s always safe) and did a short prayer (also safe), then rolled him to the hearse, drove to the cemetery, lowered him into the ground, and threw some dirt on him.
That was it. A life lived. A legacy left.
This event occurred at least 25 years ago, yet to this day it still haunts me and motivates me. As I drove home, I decided then and there that I would live my life in a way that counts. And by the grace of God (and some really hard work) – I have.
How about you?
Some people believe that thinking about death is morbid but it’s not; actually our mortality should be a motivator. It’s no secret. We’re all going to die and when we do, we’re going to leave some kind of legacy.
What will yours be?
Please leave a comment. Love to hear from you.
Leaving a legacy
Ken L Roberts
(This is the 1st in a 5 post series on Building A Life That Counts)