February was a hard month. In addition to the bleak skies and restlessness that generally accompany the winter season, this year brought struggles of a decidedly more permanent nature.
Towards the beginning of the month, a friend from college died suddenly. When you are only in your mid-twenties, it is quite a shock when someone younger than you dies.
In the following weeks, my grandfather passed away from cancer. Thankfully, we had the comfort that he had lived a full and blessed life and the ripples of his legacy will continue to reach many.
In the next few days, I learned that the child of a dear friend had passed a way. The silence of this absence shouted volumes.
I found myself pounding the counter asking, no, shouting a single question to God: “WHY?!” I remember telling Him in no uncertain terms what I , the clay, thought of the Potter’s plan, knowing full well I will take back my words some day.
My thoughts, too, turned to memories of the sort of lives my grandfather and friend lived and the legacy they left behind. Naturally, when confronting death one begins to ponder what sort of legacy they will leave behind.
When I am called before the throne of God to give an account of my life, how much wasted and ill spent time will I have to address?
How many wasted minutes and hours will have been spent aimlessly scrolling through my feed on facebook, while my precious children look up at me with eyes pleading for my attention?
How much effort will I have poured into decisions of such import as which particular shade of gray I should paint the bedroom?
How often will I have sought to find happiness in a carton of ice cream knowing full well that it is not going to fulfill me.
Now I don’t want to come across as condemning social media, decorating, or ice cream. These are all things I do dearly enjoy and believe can have a place in a well lived life. It’s just a question of how big of a place.
Facing the deaths that February brought reinforced my desire to examine life in general and try to discover what living, really living, looks like. I needed a reminder that this gift of life I have been given isn’t meant for complacency, but for greatness.
Up till now, I thought that greatness was illusive at this stage of my life. Here I am, a young mama to two little ones who demand so much of my time and energy. I yearn to do great things with my life, yet my daily duties often leave me confined to my home. How am I supposed to do anything important, when most of time is spent in childcare?
Filled with frustration, I turned my thoughts back to my deceased friend and grandfather. What was it about their lives that made such an impact on me? By the world’s standard’s neither had done anything astounding, yet their impact on others was profound. What they lacked on their resume of professional accomplishments, they provided in their quiet virtue and great love.
Their lives are my reminder then, that greatness is not achieved through intellectual accomplishments, athletic prowess, or artistic creation. It must be fought for on the battlefield of the will.
This variety of greatness is possible for me to achieve in my hidden life at home, albeit with more struggle than I should like. It is a type of greatness that the world often does not recognize or acknowledge.
These loses provided me with the powerful reminder that whatever goals I may hope to achieve, which one must take priority.
Have you ever had this realization driven home? Did it take the death of a loved one, or did it come in a more gentle format?
P.S. It took this post ( http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2014/09/resume-eulogy-virtues/ ) from the ever insightful Anne of modernmrsdarcy, and the TED talk she referenced, to finaly clarify my thoughts enough that they could be distilled into this post.
P.P.S. Check out the fantastic five minute TED talk here: