I was pretty teary yesterday morning. Even though I fully expected my grandmother's death, and even wished it for her-because she was so ready and it had become just a matter of waiting....but even then, I couldn't help but get all leaky all morning long! My mom, sister and I went to the Home to clean out her room.
Throughout the last few years she has widdled down her possessions to next to nothing...what she kept ended up in my parents basement. But at 93 there's not a whole lot that you need. Someone else feeds you, clothes you, changes your sheets and escorts you everywhere you want to go. Your needs are pretty meager.
And that's what I've been thinking about the last day and a half. I'm thinking about how many hours, weeks, months and years we spend in our lifetime just trying to reach some level of importance. Whether it is financial, vocational or in relationships, we're always reaching for something more. And yet, at the end of our lives we ALL end up on the same playing ground. We die...and our stuff is distributed to someone else.
In my grandmother's case, we packed up two garbage bags of clothing for Goodwill and three boxes of her belongings. That's it. She didn't live a life in pursuit of things...her desires were mostly relational....not "stuff-related".
Imagine that she HAD lived her life in pursuit of the next best thing life had to offer. Imagine that her home was filled with toys and gadgets, blings and baubles.
What would yesterday have looked like???
I venture to say it would look EXACTLY like it did. We would have needed more garbage bags, a bigger uhaul for Goodwill, and a few more boxes of stuff to distribute. But, we would have been doing exactly the same thing, which is my point. No matter what we pursue in life, at the end of it all we take with us is our reputations and our legacies.
WE CAN'T PACK ANYTHING ELSE UP IN AN OVERNIGHT BAG AND TAKE IT WITH US!
So, we have two choices to make:
1) Live a life in pursuit of temporary happiness, accumulating all that our houses can fill. Busy ourselves with the fullness of all the world has to offer...
2) Live a life in pursuit of eternal happiness, love on the people around us, deny our own selfish gain...and just live simply.
At the end of my life, when my children are tidying up my belongings, distributing them amongst themselves, I hope it takes about an hour. I hope that they find boxes and boxes of pictures filled with memories of TIME spent together. I hope they look back on my life and see that I've loved people more than STUFF. I hope they find a legacy that they want to pass on to their own children.
I take note here because I need a reminder. I need to refresh the screen often and remind myself to stay on track. I have a lot of work to do...a lot of "house" to clean.
This will take a LOT of effort, people!
It won't happen by accident...
An intentional life happens only when we make it happen.