Our past three years have started with a funeral.
In January 2009, a young man from our church died from traumatic injuries suffered from a horrific car accident. We had the honor to play prelude music for his funeral. In January 2010, a older member from our church passed away unexpectedly. The summer before she had requested my brother Ben to sing for her funeral, because she loved his "deep, rich bass voice" and it gave her goosebumps. And, this morning we attended the funeral of a church member's sister. Such solemn reminders as we have begun each new year.
As I watched the funeral home workers roll the coffin down the aisle this morning, I couldn't help but think, "What will my funeral look like?" Glancing at the small crowd of mourners, I wondered, "Who will be at my funeral?" Listening to the sermon, I pondered, "What would be said of me?"
Every thought, action, word, or deed will leave a lasting impression on those who are directly or indirectly affected by it. What picture will my words and deeds paint? Will the figurative brushes I use be smooth and delicate, or ragged and coarse? Would the colors of the painting be light, complementary pastels? Bold, bright and rich? Or dark, mellow and cold? The images portrayed on the canvas of my life, Would they be pleasant to behold, stirring up hope and love, thrilling the viewer's eye and soul? Or would my life be depicted by dismal figures of pain, bitterness, and regret?
Would a pastor, standing sheepishly in the pulpit and staring at some scribbled sermon notes, have to say the common phrases, "Um, she was a good person. She loved people (I think), and people...ah...loved her" with the knowledge that it wasn't true? Would the handful of mourners recall the times when I spoke out of turn, acted unjustly or immorally, injured relationships, and failed to be a good ambassador for the Lord?
While I am on this earth, I have the opportunity to live life to the fullest. I will make mistakes, hurt people, and continue to sin. This is inevitable. But I want people to remember me for getting through the tough times and mistakes, saying "I'm sorry" and turning 180 degrees, and battling sin (not caving into it). I pray people would say with certainty, "Yes, she loved the Lord with all her heart, and she loved us as well."
How I can help ensure that? Well, by living life according to God's Word. May His legacy become mine as I strive to follow His ways. One day, when my body is put into the ground, my soul will be in the presence of His glory, singing praises to Him, and His legacy will live, hopefully, through the remembrance of a girl named Taylor-through the canvas of my life.