Good morning dear reader.
This has been a really rough week, but I’m finally feeling a little better this morning. As soon as I finish writing this (priorities!) I’m going to start trying to get caught up on some things. I am SO behind on housework.
Last night I found myself thinking about death, not as something to fear, but as an inevitable thing for all of us at some point. Then I looked at my “Inspiring Quotes” this morning and it really solidified what I wanted to write about today. Here’s the quote: When we leave this world, how much we have loved will be our true legacy. It is the only thing we will leave behind..(Anne Siloy). I’m not sure who she is, but I agree with what she says.
It all boils down to two questions. The first one is how do I want to be remembered after I die? These questions can be life-changers if you really take the time to think about them. Just figuring out how you want to be remembered takes some serious soul searching. For example, do you want to be remembered as someone who held tight to their opinions and refused to budge, or as someone who was willing to compromise with others? Do you want to be remembered as someone who did all they could to help others, or as someone who worked hard all their lives to build something to leave for the next generation? I could go on and on, but the examples themselves aren’t the point. None of them are wrong, they are all things that people strive for in their lives. I think in order to answer the question of how you want to be remembered, you have to take the time to learn who you are. Not the you that you show in public, but the you that is there when you’re alone and not keeping up appearances. Many people are afraid of being alone (I sure was!) because that means they have to spend time with a stranger. It took me many years to learn who Lynnette is…not the mother or the wife or the person who cooks at church. or any of the things people saw me as…just plain Lynnette. Yes, it was scary and yes, it was hard work, but finding the person that had been buried under all of these expectations (real or imagined) was an amazing thing. I found diamonds and charcoal…things I wanted to polish and make brighter and things that were dark and ugly. I looked up how diamonds are formed. According to geology.com, “The formation of natural diamonds requires very high temperatures and pressures.” In other words, it ain’t easy. I think I may be getting a bit off course here, so let’s bring it back. Bottom line…figuring out how you want to be remembered after you die requires getting to know who you truly are.
Now the second question…how do you think you will be remembered after you die? If the answer to that is the same as the first question then congratulations! You are perfect…no further work is required. You can just sit back and enjoy the ride. But since that is not the case with most of us, I’m going to talk about it anyway. For the first question we had to figure out who we were, but for this one we have to figure out how to make diamonds out of our coal. The difference between who we are and who we want to be can be quite vast, but it isn’t impossible to get from one to the other. It simply requires work. Oh…did you think the work was finished when you found out who you were? Sorry, the work has just begun. I’m going to use a personal example to explain what I mean by this one. I was the person who volunteered for everything, no matter what it was. If anyone asked for help I was there, no matter what it was. I thought this made me a good person. People would remember me as the person who was always there, always made herself available for anything that was asked. I never said no to anything, at least not where anyone would hear me. But alone, in the part of me that I didn’t show, I often resented the hell out of it. I’d do whatever was asked of me (or I volunteered for) with a smile on my face and a “No problem! Glad to do it!” Then I’d get home and say, “Why is it always me? Is there nobody else who can do some of this stuff? They know I’m sick…well, they sort of know. I don’t tell how bad it really is. But they should be able to tell I’m not doing well even if I don’t tell them. So why do they keep asking me to do things? Okay, maybe not asking me specifically. But they know when they ask for help I’ll always volunteer.” It would go on and on. I thought I was being the person other people wanted me to be, but I definitely wasn’t being the person I wanted to be. So you know what I did? I learned how to say that impossibly difficult two letter word… NO. I only said it to the things that were super hard for me to do. But the sky stayed up where it belonged, it didn’t fall, and people didn’t hate me, they still loved me. So I said it again. Before long I was only volunteering to do things I actually wanted to do. If I was asked for help by someone who had taken advantage of me in the past, I told them I couldn’t do it. Now I believe I will be remembered as someone who did what she could when she could, and did it gladly. That’s one example of a way I think I will be remembered that matches up with how I want to be remembered when I’m gone. I still have a lot of work to do with some other things.
I’ve gotten a bit deep today. But I think this is something people don’t normally take the time to think about. You deserve to be the you that makes you happy. So if I’ve made you think a bit today, great!
Until next time…