Have you ever thought about how your obituary will read? How your friends will remember you, what your family will say? Aside from the usual feel-good comments, what will they really say? How will your life be summarized and how many paragraphs will it take?
I figured that, amid all the horrifying political messes facing our country, this was one of those opportunities to search my soul for those pie-in-the-sky answers I’m constantly seeking. You know, the ones you think about when you’re sitting all alone, give a few minutes to, but never address with a full consideration.
So, seriously, what will it say? That you met your annual goals at work for 20 consecutive years? That you were stable enough to purchase a new car every two years? That you kept a beautiful yard in front of your show home? That you had the most Facebook followers of any outspoken pundit in the entire region?
I’m not old enough to spend too much time reading the obituary section of the newspaper, but I’ve seen enough of them in my 28 years to know none of the mentioned the things above. Yet, here we are, all just existing and competing and racing.
But racing for what? The finish line? In this game of life, what is the finish line and what happens when we get there?
This morning I had the opportunity to speak with someone that most people would consider one of my competitors. In a conversation that started in a way that I would only describe as “touchy,” I was taken aback when this person told me that while they don’t always agree with me, they respected what I do. More importantly, he said he knew my heart was in the right place.
That’s right. In a professional setting, someone mentioned my heart. Given my work and my political views, I would imagine there are a few dozen people out there who don’t believe I have one, but just like everyone else, I do. So, how did I manage to show my heart and my passion without even trying? How did I manage to set the race aside and use my humanity as my compass? Do I have an honesty about me or is he just giving me the benefit of the doubt? We all have the ability to share out hearts, not our desires, in everything we do.
Of course, as humans we fall short – intentionally and unintentionally. Intentionally when we lose sight of the perfection that is placed at our feet every day. We often bypass the blessing that every day is new. We forget that even the moments of turmoil and grief, we are able to grow and be used for a bigger purpose – that everything that happens “to” us molds us for the next day, for the next person we are to meet. We’re so busy discussing what’s happened to us that we’re not happening to life.
Unintentionally when we close our hearts to protect ourselves and often times when we don’t even realize we’ve done it. In everything we do, there is an end. With that, there is usually both a process and a purpose. We spend so much time on the process that we forget the purpose. It’s just human nature and we choose the easy route, the one that brings us out unscathed, unbruised, and unbattered.
“Oh my darling, it’s true. Beautiful things have dents and scratches too.”
The dents and scratches ARE the purpose. We aren’t supposed to end this life as undamaged porcelain. A mangled mess is the result of being human and offering an open heart in everything we do. In choosing not to show our hearts, we miss opportunities for this world to shape us and prepare us to help ourselves, and, in turn, others. We compartmentalize and weigh accomplishments by tangible “things,” but what it is we take with us when we go?
How we carry ourselves, how we impact others, and what we do in times of tumult are the things people will talk about. Souls, not sales, are what’s engraved on tombstones. Character, not ego, leaves a legacy.
So, are you allowing the world to use you? Or are you using the world??
Are you the tenacious entrepreneur showing you seek to earn respect – not revenge – through kindness and hard work? Are you the mother who lost a child and spends her time helping other parents who’ve suffered the same loss? Are you the father that’s helping mold an entire little league team into human beings who will console their saddened opponents after a loss? Are you the friend that opens up to people who have nothing to offer you in return, simply to share your experience in hopes of saving a soul? Are you the stranger that does a double take for the struggling person in passing?
We’re here to show others our compassion. We are nothing without personal relationships, and whether it’s seen minimally or massively, it all stems from our hearts.
“Her heart was always in the right place.” That sounds much better than ‘hardworking, blonde, white female,’ doesn’t it?
“She was unbreakable. For though they looked at her with scorn, As their tongues pricked her with thorns, she smiled at them with mercy. They say you can’t break a heart that’s not hard. She was unbreakable.”