HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED?
About a hundred years ago, a man looked at the morning newspaper and to his surprise and horror, read his name in the obituary column. The news papers had reported the death of the wrong person by mistake. His first response was shock.
Am I here or there? When he regained his composure, his second thought was to find out what people had said about him. The obituary read, “Dynamite King Dies.” And also “He was the merchant of death.” This man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question, “Is this how I am going to be remembered?”
Nobel had an opportunity that was granted for only few on this earth: to read his obituary while alive. What he read horrified him: The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived.
He got in touch with his feelings and decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered. From that day on, he started working toward peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize.
Thinking about how one’s obituary is going to read can motivate one to rethink how he is currently spending his life.
No eulogy ever says he/she dressed well, lived extravagantly, took fabulous vacations, drove an expensive car, or built the most expensive home. I never heard anyone praised for being too busy at work to find time for their children.
A call to someone who is lonely, a listening ear to a person in need, long walks with our children, saying thank you to a spouse and to God, performing acts of goodness are the essence of a life well lived.
The people who are most mourned are not the richest or the most famous, or the most successful. They are people who enhanced the lives of others. They were kind. They were loving. They had a sense of their responsibilities. They were loyal friends and committed members of communities. They were people you could count on.
Our fate decides how long our chapter on earth is going to be; it’s up to us to make every paragraph and sentence count.
“Immortality lies not in how long you live but in how you live.”
If we were to leave the world tomorrow, what would our obituary say? Would it read the way we want it to read?