And they all really knew her—this made an amazing difference in the quality of the service. There were stories to make us laugh. There were heart-touching stories. But I think the most telling one was this: She was a woman who could really see what somebody was capable of and pushed them to achieve it, but not so they could be their own best self. It was so they, in turn, could serve and make other peoples lives better.
I think that gets lost on us, anymore. I'm not sure if it has to do with scattering? When we move away from people we 'come from' and 'care about' and no longer feel compelled to give to our communities? Or we give, but only with a goal of glory? Or we (and I am guilty of this) plan to give when finally we are in a better position to do so?
But think about how much more fulfilling life is to pay it forward in whatever way we can. Think about thinking of your OWN GOALS in those terms—I want to be better so I can give more. It's big, isn't it?
|random high school choir image|
The other really fantastic feature was the music. And you know what the music was? This woman had been involved in a private high school (one affiliated with her church) in a community where the public schools are pretty darned lousy. Her family had created a scholarship fund because in a poor community, many people need HELP to think about a private education, but where the public schools are lousy, that private school may be their best hope. So this choir of high school kids (who had so much talent it made me CRY) sang... and sang... and sang. A lot of singing—BEAUTIFUL singing. 'Near God' singing, and I don't say that easily. My own religious beliefs are less religion and more spirit and the way I think of God probably isn't one most of you would recognize, so I just don't throw out the word.
And I loved the HUMOR of the service. The cleric, after telling us this woman wanted us to be our best, then said if we weren't, she would haunt us. Which was EXACTLY her. She was spunk personified. I think that is how she touched so many—her approach was so APPROACHABLE. She never acted BETTER THAN anybody. She just inspired people to be BETTER. I wore a pair of reindeer antlers she gave me when we decorated our tree this year. I love a message that inspires us both to be better, and to play more... (you might know that playing thing is important to me.)
My Thoughts on Scattered Families
This particular family is NOT scattered. They've been scattered. They were a military family for many years, but they came back to their roots. Perhaps that makes the understanding of the core more precious.
|MY family NEVER would have made us dress alike|
My cousins aren't brothers, but they are most certainly closer than cousins normally are.
And I married a family I have met exactly three times. My husband's mom's funeral. His uncle's funeral. And our wedding.
He feels my family is stifling. I feel like his is... erm... not family. They are the blood relations like I know I have a big family in Iowa (my grandma's family)--I've MET many. I LIKE them. But they are relations, not family... you see what I mean? It is not the kind of thing you talk about before you merge... 'how do you like to be with extended family?'--who has that discussion?
And OTHER people build a family. My lifetime BFF always has a housefull, some 20-30% of whom are ACTUALLY related. But she adopts people. It's just how she is.
In our situation now, we are 2000 miles from my family, so while I'd love to see my family, especially those cousins, as I don't talk to them often enough, we will spend our small Christmas for four. To my husband it is the familiar way. To me it is always just a little bit sad.