but don’t die to find out…
It happened a few years back when there was a memorial for my oldest brother’s wife who had died.
My brother called me and asked if I would come and help him with the memorial as well as with a gathering to be held after the occasion at his house.
I arrived a few days earlier and we talked about many things, including whether the place he had chosen for the memorial was going to be too large for the small group he had planned on coming. Throughout the day prior the occasion, family from both sides came to visit. It was good to see other family members, but I would have rather it had been under better circumstances.
On the day of the event, my brother and I arrived early to begin preparations, unfolding chairs, making sure there would be “quiet” places where people could gather in private.
As the time began to get closer for the memorial to begin, I asked my brother how many people did he think would attend? He had no idea but said that there might be around 75–100.
The time came to begin and so I opened the doors and discovered that people had lined up and the line went around a corner. I went to tell my brother and he couldn’t believe it.
His wife was involved in children’s causes and a very wide variety of personal rights non-profits. She was well respected and highly admired. She was a good person.
As the event began and people started coming to the front to say a few words about her, I looked over and could tell how much my brother was affected by all the kind words and verbal tributes coming from a variety of guests.
After it was over and people started leaving, my brother and I figured out that there must have been upwards of a bit more than 200 people who attended that memorial.
As we live our lives and meet people, we don’t really have any idea how much of a mark we leave on individuals and/or groups. One might join a group of musicians or actors or even a book group. As we get older the number of people we have met and the list of organizations to which we belong begin to lengthen, but we still haven’t a clue as to how many we have touched.
My brother and I did not have a single clue that there would be 200 people coming to pay tribute and thanks for the life his wife led and the people she touched.
Many of us live lives of a type of seclusion. Our daily activities are pretty much programmed into our systems so that most of what we do is automatic and repetitious. We seldom go out of our way to say, “Hello,” to a neighbor. Much of the time we don’t even know our next-door neighbor, even after we have lived side-by-side for more than 20-years.
It might do us all a bit of good if we were to break out of that mold and break into a smile when we are passing people on the street.
Be good, be nice. You might enjoy it.