I attended an amazing funeral yesterday for the father of a dear friend. Funerals, memorial services, going-home celebrations, whatever you want to call them, put me in an introspective, touchy-feely mood. Then my self-diagnosed A.D.D. kicks in the following day and I find myself consumed by the next item on my to-do list.
We rode up and back to the funeral (3.5 hours each way) in the same day with some old friends. They aren’t old, but our friendship is – just for clarification and possible retribution purposes. After seeing friends whom I don’t get to see often at the funeral, and the full conversation and laughter of the ride home, I am reminded of one of the most important things in life that is becoming clearer and clearer to me.
It’s relationships. (Side bar: getting older is starting to do a number on me emotionally. I warn anyone reading this that I’m turning 50 next year, so look out – who knows what kind of sappy or odd posts I’ll be writing by then.) Good gosh, I just realized I’ll be turning 50 one month before Caroline goes off to college. Katy bar the proverbial door.
What I was reminded of at yesterday’s funeral is how important relationships are and need top priority in my life. Yes, grocery shopping and laundry is kinda important because people keep getting hungry and dirty around here and so is being Uber Driving/Perennial Errand Running Mom, but there are times I sacrifice maintaining relationships with others and my own family because I am too busy. Or too tired.
What am I showing my children? That going breakneck speed is just the way life is? Is doing, accomplishing, fretting and working going to result in peace with others or peace with myself? Yes, doing and accomplishing (not fretting, but hey, I’m a fretter) are important to reach the goals I have set before me as a parent and a responsible citizen, but how many times late at night have my kids heard me say, “Sorry, I am too tired. Can we talk about this tomorrow? I can’t keep my eyes open.”
As much as I malign the overuse of technology and the destructive force it can be in a teen’s life, there are times when technology has the ability to touch someone else – a text, an email, the sharing of an old photo, or even a current day funny photo. I have found that if I don’t laugh on a somewhat regular basis, I will cry. And we know there’s no time for crying.
Have you ever received a well-timed text from someone and it just made your day? I try to encourage my children to leave a light on in someone else. Just one person. Pray and ask God to bring someone into your day. Look for an opportunity to make someone feel better about themselves – because we all have hurts that we don’t show to many people. And, be transparent. If you share with someone else something that’s going on in your life, more times than not, that will open up a dialogue for that person to share their struggle. Many people try to make out like life is perfect – and I’ve yet to see someone with the perfect life who is currently still living.
When Jesus walked this earth all those years ago, I am amazed at how he took time for people. All people. He was intentional, unhurried and purposeful. The Mary and Martha story from Luke 10:38 hits me right between the eyes. To quickly recap the story, Martha had opened her home to Jesus and was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” and basically was ticked off at her sister AND at Jesus because she chose to be so busy! She said to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?? Tell her to help me!” Martha might have been even more clueless than I am. I would have thought twice about tattle-telling on my sister to JESUS. Jesus said to her, “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better…”
GULP. You may as well quit calling me Julie and rename me Martha. I am so guilty of busily preparing, and missing the important stuff.
I’m going to work at being more like Mary – “choosing what is better”, according to the words of Jesus in Luke 10:42. Choosing to slow down and spend time fostering relationships.
I don’t want to get to heaven and hear Jesus say, “Julie, Julie..you were so worried and upset about many things…”
While funerals are emotionally tough, I am thankful for the reminders that come out of them.
People matter. Things? Not so much.
Here’s to you having a Mary kind of day…