Not too long ago I was thinking about how I want to be remembered. I'm not entirely sure how I got onto this subject in my head, but there it was. To be honest, I wasn't necessarily thinking about death. I mean, that was part of it, but I also wonder how my kids will remember me when they're older and have their own lives/homes/families. I'm definitely hoping that the times I lost my temper or was unnecessarily short will be overshadowed by thoughts of love. I suppose it's unrealistic to hope they won't remember the anger at all.
While I was mulling this over, I happened to receive an email with this blog entry at Chasing Blue Skies. It was like she knew what I was thinking! I really wanted to call her and talk to her and tell her my thoughts...except I don't know her and that would be strange. But, she really did get me thinking.
I initially thought I wanted to be remembered as funny and kind. (My husband often teases me and says that I'm the funniest person I know. I think I kind of am.) I like to joke around and I certainly like to be liked. One of the ways to ensure people like you is to be kind, right? Being kind makes me feel good and certainly makes the recipient of the kindness feel good. So, this can't be a bad thing. Except...I wonder if it is. Really, why am I being kind? Is it only to be liked? I don't think so. But...maybe.
The motto of the church my family attends is, "Love God, Love Your Neighbor, Nothing Else Matters." I like it. It reminds me that love is the most important thing, all of the time. Love everyone. (Note, that doesn't mean you won't ever be angry or hurt or anything like that. There are sermons and sermons and sermons about that.) If all of our actions are driven by love - love of God - then I believe we will be kind. But, if my kindness is driven by wanting to remembered as being kind...well then I've missed the mark. Being kind for the sake of being remembered as kind will also make me remembered as someone a little adrift. Nice, but no substance.
If I show love to my friend by making a dinner for her family while her father is sick, that's certainly kind. If I show kindness by holding the door for the man holding all of the grocery bags, that's a good deed. If I hold my daughter after her heart is broken or listen to my son talk, again, about the great play he made in a video game, I'm showing patience. Patience, love...and parts of kindness.
I think, ultimately, Kristen is right. I want to be remembered as someone who deposited Christ's love into someone else every day. Sometimes that is kindness. Sometimes it's structure and discipline. Sometimes it's laughter. (I think it's very often food.) If I'm relying on God to help me show kindness, then I can't go wrong. If I'm relying on myself to just be kind, then it may not work. I know that I can't rely only on myself to be patient; I was not blessed with much of that. I know, though, that I can show kindness via patience by relying on God.
I'll keep trying to be kind through love, knowing that it's always a work in progress.
How do you want to be remembered?