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Sunday, March 29, 2009

If You Died Today

What would be said at your funeral if you were to die today?

I do a lot of funerals. I never say anything bad about the deceased. I listen to what the family wants me to say. Sometimes they think the deceased was a jerk. They, however, don't want to say that. So, they give me things they would like to be said. The truth gets seriously stretched.

One man's greatest accomplishment was that he got people to stop chewing gum at a local little league park. That would be fine if that was the capacity of that man's abilities. Do you think that God created him for that purpose alone? Should there have been more?

There are many generalities that people tell me. "She was a great mother" or "He always did what he said," are often recited. I ask them what story they can tell me that would reflect their statements. If too much time passes before they can answer I know that this is merely what they want to have said rather than the truth.

Friends and family often feel they must say something. One friend of the deceased got up unprepared at one of the funerals I did. He rambled along for several minutes and then got to what he wanted to say. "The next time I drink beer," he said, "I'll drink one for you!" I am sure that this sounds really good in a bar but it went over like a lead balloon at the funeral. No dead person cares if you are drinking a beer in their name. Unfortunately, your friends do indicate what kind of life you have lived.

I have heard so many people say, "Just throw me in a box and bury me. Don't spend the money or the time to have a funeral." I have wondered is that really their sentiment or are they afraid there is nothing to say. Funerals are not for the deceased. They are for the ones left behind. They bring closure for them. People need to remember in order to go forward with their lives. Some of the deceased aren't giving them much to remember.

So, what would be said of you? Can you think of a story that would indicate what you would want said? What things must you do in order to be a great mother? What would indicate to a son that you loved him and did your best to see that he grew up to be a man? What will stay behind after you are gone?

You may have made some terrible mistakes or committed some terrible sins in your past. You can't change that. You do have the ability to change the present. That will make a new past. It is better to have said, "He was a real jerk until about thirty years ago; then something changed."

What would be said at your funeral if you were to die today? Are you happy with that?

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