What will they say about me?
I was late getting to bed last night. In the evening we’d attended a memorial service at our church for a long-time member. Kathleen made a difference in the lives of uncounted family, friends, neighbors and strangers. The sanctuary was filled with witnesses.
Kathleen’s life was long and lively. Always full of energy, joy, encouragement of others and raucous support for our local baseball team—the Philadelphia Phillies. Her husband died suddenly 17 years ago, a grief-fed love she carried with her every day of her remaining years on this earth.
The memorial service was outstanding. A collage of shared memories, a meditation on life and death, several of her favorite hymns, and multiple genres of music performed by visitors and members whose lives she touched.
I knew Kathleen, but not from way back. Until last night I had no idea how deeply she had immersed herself in the lives of others—via music, Phillies baseball games, family relationships, her neighborhood, and of course, the life of our church. Even though she had officially retired as music director years ago.
When I got home I felt sad and teary. I wondered what people might say about me when I’m gone. And how full the sanctuary would be for my memorial service.
Without intending to, I began comparing myself with my friend. The kind of comparison that leads to unhappiness. That gnawing sense of being ‘less-than.’ Feeling shame and even regret for my life and what I have and have not accomplished. Wandering around, trying to find myself, trying things on, wanting desperately to be somebody. And to be loved.
It’s Lent. Time to practice letting go my desire for affection and esteem…among other things.
Here’s what I wrote down before I went to sleep last night.
Remember the white stone! Your white stone! The one God will give you, with your new name. Not comparable to anyone else’s distinct new name. This isn’t a competition. Yet (comparison) has been a source of much discontent in my life.
Last night I was painfully aware of my desire for esteem and affection. I don’t want to fall off the cliff into a thicket of jealousy or envy. And I don’t want to be left hanging. I believe there’s another side of this practice.
Letting go isn’t about going away empty-handed. It’s about keeping my hands open, ready to receive my white stone and new name. My one-of-a-kind name. Inscribed by my Creator on the white stone. My one-of-a-kind ‘well done, beloved daughter.’
Plus any other gifts my Creator wants to give me before I receive the white stone. So long as my hands are open and receptive.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 March 2017
Photo found at yldist.com
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Immerse