I sing at funerals. It’s weird, I know, but I spend a lot of time listening to homilies and eulogies. There are commonalities to them – a life cut short, a life lived in the service to one’s country, one’s family, devotion to the same, and this one that I really liked: “In the face of death, there are questions. Questions about what our life is for.” Beautiful. Poetic even. And true.
Steve Jobs said that “death is likely the best invention of life,” and I think he really hit the mark with that one. When we realize how fragile life truly is, which tragically, usually only comes in watching the demise of someone else’s, we ask bigger questions, about who we are and where we are going, and what kind of impact our lives will have on this small, spinning blue planet.
The place is huge actually. With 7 and a half billion people, it seems pretty incredible to think that outside of our friends and family, we would have an impact at all, so why does one small life matter?
Because it does. It just does. Your action or inaction, your belief or disbelief, your hope and love and courage and strength are like that proverbial pebble in a pond. They send out a ripple effect and you have no way of knowing what kind of effect you’ll have on the world, just by being YOU. For a moment, consider the butterfly effect – and how one flap of a butterfly’s wing can set off a hurricane on the other side of the world.
What will your life say about you? The truth is that you get to decide. You get to choose what history will immortalize you as when you are gone by the actions you take now while you are still here. Maybe you’ve been on autopilot for awhile, adopting old habits and old patterns of belief. Maybe they don’t match who you are on the inside. So change it. You have the power to be whomever you decide.
I think about those eulogies sometimes and play out my own. It’s morbid, I know, but what do I want said about me? “She played it safe. She was afraid.” Oh hell no. Mine will read like a fairy tale…”Once upon a time there was a girl who dreamed big dreams, had hopes higher than the highest mountains, who loved deeper than the ocean, and was as brave and fierce and silly as they come, who heard the whispers on the wind and found magic everywhere she went…and she lived happily ever after.”
What is your life for? Only YOU get to decide.