“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven :a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Eccl. 3:1-8 (NIV)
If there can be a beautiful day for a wedding, there certainly can be a beautiful day for a funeral. Yesterday was a beautiful day and a legacy day.
In January, I began a 7 week study with a group of women, on Proverbs 31. One of the first lessons we talked about was legacy. We had to ask ourselves what kind of legacy would we leave behind.
It’s a good question to ask. Granted we can leave some sentimental and tangible gifts to loved ones like poetry, paintings and heirloom jewelry. Yet for the most part, money can be spent, cars can be crashed and houses can be damaged, destroyed or sold. Therefore, it’s the intangible stuff we leave behind that makes the biggest impact.
Sunday afternoon, Bob and I stood outside with a loving group of people as my boss and dear friend, Cheryle Touchton and her husband Bob, bid farewell to Bob’s mother. Barbara Touchton left this world for one more glorious last Thursday.
Although we did not know her, our hearts went out to Bob, Cheryle and their families – who had suffered another family loss only a few weeks prior to this one. My sweetie and I went to pay our respects and lend prayer support for Cheryle as she spoke to a grieving family while grieving herself.
Cheryle presided over her mother-in-law’s service since Cheryle was “in charge of all the religious stuff for the family.” Apparently, this was a title assigned to her by her mother-in-law many years ago and the sentiment brought a smile to many a face, including mine.
Grandsons sung songs, read her poetry and shared their memories. Granddaughter Kelly read Barbara’s favorite Scripture: Eccl. 3:1-8. Her paintings were displayed briefly before the breeze overpowered them. Bob Touchton spoke of his sweet remembrances of his mother. Cheryle spoke of Barbara’s spiritual testimony and how death brought her freedom from the illness that had enslaved her. Some of the remarks brought smiles, some brought giggles and others brought tears.
Now, I know you are supposed to be reverent during a funeral. But at one point, it took all I could do, to keep from laughing out loud – sorry Cheryle! It seems something other than a fond memory caught my attention. It was the sight of a small, wiggly caterpillar who managed to find its way onto Cheryle’s husband’s jacket collar. I watched it crawl across the back of his jacket and to the inside of the collar.
I had to shut my eyes because there was nothing I could do without being a distraction. When I opened my eyes, my hand flew over my mouth before the laughter exploded. It seems our little caterpillar friend had started to make its way up the middle of Bob’s handsome, albeit bald head.
What does one do when you are on the very back row of a solemn service when an insect rhapsody is playing out on the back of your boss’s husband’s head! Who, by the way, was nestled in on the front row with his grandson on his lap! Oh. . .
Well, back to today’s message, after the service concluded Bob and I were impressed and blessed by the legacy this mother left her family. We truly felt like we’d missed something special by not knowing her.
God thought: I wonder, would anyone ever say that about me?
One day each of us (in the flesh) will lie silently in front of a group of people who are there to bid our memory farewell. Our group could be small or it could be large. It could rain or the sun might shine. Flowers might fall over and caterpillars could make an appearance. But that is not what anyone will truly remember. What will be remembered is the life you lived and how you lived it.
Live well, love well and serve well. Do it all for the glory of God. Start living a legacy today that will continue to give long after you depart this world and exchange your trophies for a crown.