Lessons learned from a life lived

5 07 2009

Each time I have the privilege of helping grieving families celebrate a life lived, I learn things from hearing about what was important to the deceased; their values, convictions, life rules, etc.  I recently did a service for a man who’s life was cut short, and I summarized the following as I observed thing things that were reflected upon.  Good life lessons for us all… 

Live life to the fullest – live “straight ahead.”  Live your life with passion and conviction, like there’s no tomorrow.  We don’t know how much time we have on this earth, and it’s a time frame too short to waste.  In view of this fact, concentrate on the things that are most important in life; treasure the people you care about – build bridges not walls.

Be authentic.  It was said about the person that had passed, “what you saw was what you got.”  This is gut-level brutal honesty about who you are and what you think.  Now it’s true that this can be bad and it can be good (we all have to make sure we have balance in all things here); but people who are authentic are refreshing; there’s no “hidden agenda” where you wonder what is really behind the facade, or wonder which aspect of the person will “show up” on a particular day.  Be true to yourself first of all and to others – have no regrets.

Be dependable and work with integrity.  We need more people who will honor their word and follow through on promises.  Someone who can be counted on to come through no matter what the personal cost.  Employers are looking for men and women who not only give an “honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage,” but who will go above and beyond the call of duty to do those little “extra” things.  These are the attributes that cause someone to be a standout.

Laugh loud and long.  Ah, this is a great one, and laughter really is the “best medicine.”  Life is serious business with stresses and concerns; a sense of humor can really lighten the load and bring healing – not only to you personally but to others around you.  Laughter can de-fuse tense situations and be a game-changer in difficult situations.  It can change people’s whole outlook on life and has been shown to have lasting positive physiological and psychological effects. 

Invest in the next generation.  When we’re dead and gone, what will we be remembered for?  Or for that matter, will those that come after us really want to care to even remember us?  What are we telling the next generation (whether by words or through our actions) about what’s  most important in life?  I was listening as people were commenting about how the deceased loved his grandkids and spent time with them, wanting to be involved in their lives.  This is really what’s most important and what is long remembered – our relationship investment in the next generation.  And it’s a great  feeling knowing you’ve impacted them in some way.




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