Each life that touches ours for good
The title of this blog is from a hymn of the same name and best expresses my thoughts about a recent event in my life.
My Uncle Lew walking with his grandson.
Two weeks ago, my Uncle Lew died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 56. Ironically, that is the exact same age as my father when he passed away and the news and comparisons brought back a lot of memories. In fact, it was much harder than I expected to go through the line at the viewing. It was like looking at my own father all over again.
But this post isn’t about the negative of that event, but rather I wanted to focus on what my takeaway was from the events of that week and what I heard at the funeral.
- Life is far shorter than we want to believe so make the most of it. It was very clear from the comments shared at the funeral that my uncle lived a full life and probably did a lot more living in 56 years than most do in 75, 80, or 90.
- Family matters most. Each of my uncles six living children shared some thoughts about their dad. While they each shared some unique things about their dad, they all mentioned how much they love him and how much they felt his love. In fact in one of his final conversations that morning before he died he was talking with a friend about his family.
- The gift of friendship. My uncle knew how to be a good friend and it was interesting to see how many of my cousins (there are 41 of us) responded to the news with favorite stories of Uncle Lew and how his friendship and love had had an impact on their lives.
- My 38th birthday tribute. One of the exercises that our Pepperdine orientation walked us through was writing a letter to be read at our 80th birthday celebration. It was an exercise to help us evaluate our life and see if what we are doing was putting us on that path or another one. After going through this past couple of weeks, I’m convinced it’s the wrong exercise or perhaps it is an incomplete exercise. The fact of the matter is I may not be around that long and thinking out 40 or so years may delay me taking some actions I should take right now. So I have scrapped that exercise and have decided to focus on what I want said at my 38th birthday this coming March.
- The power of faith. Mormon funerals are a bit different that other funerals I’ve attended. While we grieve, we also celebrate our faith that there is a great plan of happiness and that death is as much a part of that plan as is birth. This is a faith I had to seek and gain after my own father passed away, and because of what I experienced as a result of that seeking, I anxiously await the day that through the atonement of my Savior I will get to be with my father and my Uncle Lew when my turn comes to move to the next part of the plan. My task now remains to remain faithful to what I know.
- Love is best spoken. One of my final thoughts as I left the grave site and thought on the events of the funeral day was that I want to make sure that those closest to me have no doubt of my love for them. That comes in the form of words and deeds. It takes both. My goal is that in the 38th birthday tribute is that my kids and my wife can express that they know that I love them with all my heart and that they are my most precious gifts because of how I treat them and because I have regularly expressed that love for them in words (or love notes for my wife – those are her favorite).
So my question for each of you is “How will your life touch another’s for good the way my Uncle Lew and his passing touched mine?”