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Sounds pretty morbid, right? But I recently did just that, as part of an exercise from a book I'm reading called The Message of You, which is all about how to use your life story as a message that can help others in some way. I am very interested in helping people and improving their lives. My dream is to realize my goal of becoming an author and public speaker who brings encouragement to people who need to know they're not alone. It's a process that takes time, which is always a hot commodity, but I'm enjoying the journey towards my goal.
At any rate, the author of this book, Judy Carter, gives a task at the end of each chapter, and one of the tasks, in an effort to lead you to finding your core message, the one that you can use to inspire others, was to write your eulogy from two perspectives: one being from the point of view of a co-worker, boss, or client. The other being told by a close friend or family member. I had to consider the following questions, among others:
What difference will they say you made in their lives?
What skills will they say they learned from you?
What stories will they tell about you?
What will they want people to know about you?
I did not realize how hard this would be. And also, I've never been one to want to boast or brag about myself, but at the same time, this is my eulogy here, I want it to sound good! I will spare you the exact details of what I wrote, but basically, I hope some people can say that I changed their lives for the better, that maybe I injected some brightness into an otherwise dreary moment, and that it was clear that I loved Jesus. One of my best friends was at my house and saw my journal page lying open to this exercise and was so confused and slightly horrified as to why I would write such a thing, and I had to explain! Note: I have no plans to need a eulogy any time soon, if I have any say in the matter!
The writing exercise gave me some interesting questions and deep thoughts to ponder.
Questions such as:
What will I be remembered for?
Whose lives might be better because of a small part I played?
What words will be used to describe me when I'm gone?
A quote that I absolutely love, and try to live by, is this:
“When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you're the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.”
Whenever the topic comes up, I tell my husband that it's a good thing we both are going to go peacefully in our sleep at the same time, holding hands, at the age of 100 and 102. Glad I've got that all planned out. ;) But, as much as I dislike seriously talking about the subject, there's no doubt that it is unavoidable. Death and taxes, right?
And in thinking about death and dying we also think about their opposites: life and living. Thinking about what will happen when you're gone (after reaching triple digits, of course) really gives you a sense of urgency in making sure you make the most of the life you have.
I know it's an unpleasant thought, but what do you want people to say at your funeral? It's a pretty large scale eye opener for me, because if we want certain things to be said about us someday, then we should life in such a way that reflects that. Because right now, we’re here. So let's live, and live well.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you wrote your own eulogy, what would it say?