Friday, August 30, 2013

What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

by Rev. Laura Barclay

"What do you want on your tombstone?" is not just a question for frozen pizza enthusiasts, but a real question for us to ponder. What would you want a complete stranger to know about you in a nutshell 10, 20, or 100 years from now?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were walking through the famous Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, resting place of Colonel Sanders, George Rogers Clark, and the teacher who wrote the "Happy Birthday" song, Patty Hill, among others. It's also well known for its gorgeous and sometimes wacky monuments.

While the eye is drawn toward the showiness of Colonel Sanders' marble columns and stately bust, it's the understated tomb of his grandson, Harland Morrison Adams, that stuck with me. Harland's inscription states, "I HAD A GREAT TIME!" Of all the loving and touching inscriptions on various tombs, this one was my takeaway. What was this person's life like? What made this person live to the fullest? The only information I could find out about him was that he donated money to charity, loved his wife, was an avid skier, and had a ski slope named after him in Aspen.

What is holding you back detracting from your happiness? Are you not following through on your dreams because of your fears? One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "Do one thing  every day that scares you." I can just see Harland flying down a ski slope shouting and afterward hugging his wife at the ski lodge.

I tend to weigh the negatives of a situation a lot. It's in my blood. I come from a line of worriers and my sister is an insurance defense attorney who can quote accidents and death rates like nobody's business. Yet, I'm compelled to board a roller coaster, zip line, or otherwise statistically stupid ride or experience to push me outside my comfort zone. If I don't, I tend to find that fear, routine, and complacency creep in. And, honestly, humans struggle with fear quite a lot. The Bible has quite a lot to say about fear, with various passages and authors imploring us not to fear because God is with us.

In addition to trying to love to the fullest, let us also live to the fullest. Let's push the boundaries, try repeatedly to assuage our fears, and remember that God is always with us.

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