Monday, April 14, 2014

Leaving This World Empty Handed

We were involved in a sad service project the other day. A member of our church was found dead in his apartment. The maid discovered his decayed body after he had been dead a week. He lived in an extended-stay hotel and worked out of his room as an IT subcontractor, hence no one missed him. (From his personal effects, we could tell he had diabetes with at least one open lesion—so he probably died of natural causes.)

We sorted through his things so the important documents could be sent to his teenage children who live with his estranged wife. We worked with heavy hearts.  

His clothing went to Goodwill, along with some of his electronic equipment. After we mailed his documents, computer, and pictures to his children, there was nothing left. Nothing of his life remained. He is buried in an unmarked grave.

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Mother Teresa

My mother just passed away after a bout with cancer. There were a lot of last-minute visits by children and grandchildren. Uncles and aunts reunited at her house. We all were able to say multiple good-byes. She died surrounded with love. However, in the end, she also left all her material possessions. 

Houses, cars, jewelry, clothes all stay behind and are parceled out and eventually used up. So is there anything we can leave that will last?

My mother made the world a better place to live because she left a legacy of love and service. Her legacy lives on through her service to mankind, her children, and grandchildren.

What about this stranger? Did he leave a legacy of love and light? Only his family and friends can judge that.

As you think of your time of departure from this earth, what will you leave of yourself?
Everyone's legacy will be different.

Maybe you are a friend to all those around you.
You might love and mentor your children and grandchildren.
If you are financially successful, you could leave an endowment to bless other's lives.
What will your legacy be? 

There are many ways to give love and light to the world. Begin now to set your legacy plan in motion. It's too sad to see someone end up in an unmarked grave with no one to grieve their passing.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Tagore

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Your Life Pattern

It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
- J.K. Rowling

Two friends, Heather and Lavender, walked out of dance class with the laces of their shoes tied together—shoes slung over their shoulders. 

"I have to practice," said Heather. "Want to spend some time tonight on those new steps?"
"I guess," said Lavender. "I've started a new game on face book, but it can wait."
"The recital is only a few weeks away," said Heather. "I want to be sure of the dance before then."
"We can get by without a lot of work," said Lavender. "After all, we're in the back row."
"I do it for fun," said Heather, "and I want to do my best."
How do you see yourself? Are you like Heather? or Lavender?
The short range goals of the dance recital won't matter in the long-range plans of the girls' lives, but the way they choose to pattern their lives will.

1.      Begins to accomplish her goals immediately.
2.      Doesn't procrastinate.
3.      Has a good attitude about work.
4.      Enjoys the task at hand.
5.      Wants to become the best she can be.

1.      Non committal about getting her work done.
2.      Doesn't care one way or another about her goals.
3.      She is casual about work and play.
4.      Wants to slide by with the least amount of effort possible.
5.      Will blend into the background if she can.

Look at your life pattern. Find the positives in the way you attack life. Look for areas you can improve. None of us are perfect. We can all do a little better.

First find the good in your actions. We are much more likely to succeed if we see our worth. We procrastinate when we are critical of ourselves, always punishing ourselves to do better.
1.      Find your good qualities.
2.      Take a minute to pat yourself on the back for your fine work.
3.      Choose one area where you can improve.
4.      Set a goal to change that pattern for the better.
5.      Evaluate your progress each week and focus on the positives.
6.      When you feel confident in that change, move on to another.
7.      Only tackle one goal to begin with. Real change comes slowly over time.

We are each the authors of our own lives. We live in what we have created. There is no way to shift the blame and no one else to accept the accolades. Barbara Taylor Bradford