Today we drove to Oklahoma to say goodbye to a good man. He is my husband’s uncle and the church was filled with people who loved him as much as we do.
I have a hard time saying “was,” because his life was vibrant.
A small man, but so big in personality and life.
We sat in the small country church and sang songs like, “How Great Thou Art,” and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Then the lights dimmed and his life flashed on the screen.
A picture of young Leonard kissing his baby girl. A faded photo of him laughing with his wife. A picture of him with his two girls. Friends. Family.
As the movie of his life went on, time passed.
Grey around the temples.
His girls taller and older.
His wife a little plumper.
But the same smile.
Still kissing babies, but these were his grand babies. Pictures of him at the creek with his grandsons. His arms wrapped around the shoulders of a growing family.
Kissing his great-grandchildren and holding them close.
But it was the last picture that got me. It was a picture taken a week before his death. He was tenderly reaching to touch his wife of 62 years . . . who now struggles with advanced dementia.
You see, the twinkle wasn’t missing.
The same smile and tenderness was there that had not diminished over ages and hard places and aching bones and years gone by too fast.
The picture was taken by his grandchild, one of those he loved all his years. His grandchild, now a parent himself, snapped this photo never knowing it would be the last.
As Leonard’s life flashed before us, I prayed silently.
God, help me remember what matters.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes forget that it’s people that are going to matter most in the end.
Not awards or accolades. Not plaques or name recognition. Not my bank account. Not my glowing successes or achievements.
But how I loved.
So, kiss that husband. Tell that friend you appreciate her. Hold that child close. Put down your do-do-do list and just spend time with that loved one.
Love someone well today.
It’s what matters in the end.