November 4, 2012

What You Leave Behind...Patterns of Letters, Words, and Deeds

This morning was one of those mornings where it was looking like a good day to stay at home...clean the crumbs from last nights pizza, drink some coffee with the pumpkin spice creamer (which should NOT be seasonal, btw), and work on some school stuff.  Then I realized the time had changed and I could really do some of these things and still make it to church.  So I bailed on the kids and husband and took my arse to church.

I have been a bit lax in church has been happening at a pretty quick pace.  I haven't been on here much despite starting two or three other posts.  I just haven't found time or heart to finish them.  We've been wrestling with some family stuff, and the whole family is just, well, busy. Hence, our pew has been lonely.

As it should happen, because it is me and this is how all things happen to me, our wonderful and amazing pastor decided today to recognize All Saints' Day.  To do this, we did a roll call of those who have passed away this year.  Honestly, I knew one of the seven.  I knew others' names, but couldn't pick them out of a line-up.  It was sobering.  It was sad.  It made me cry and snot come out of my nose and of course I had no tissue.  I wanted my return sermon to be full of rainbows and unicorns and uplifting messages to carry me aloft through the week.  

I looked over the names in the bulletin.  There they were in alphabetical order recorded in black ink on bone-colored paper for eternity as they were on funeral bulletins in the previous months.  It hit me that one day this is what would be left of name in black ink on a page.  People will see my name and they will have memories attached to it.  Did they know me?  Was my heart good?  Did I right my wrongs?  Is my legacy one my children will be proud of?  How will they feel when they see my name in black ink on bone-colored paper?

I remember the pressure I felt when picking my children's names.  It was a good, welcomed feeling, but I wanted to make sure they had good, strong names to carry them throughout their lives. My eldest was named after my great-aunt.  My grandfather helped raise her and always talked about her while I was growing up.  I have keepsakes of hers to pass along to my daughter one day.  My son was named based on #8 down in the crossword puzzle of that day's paper.  My father and I looked at it, looked at my newborn son, and we knew that was his name...and it suits him perfectly.  Our baby girl was named after months of debate and multiple variations.  Her name is as strong as her is a regal name, classic and timeless.  They are all the epitome of their names.  Strong, graceful, resilient.

What will we leave behind?  When your name is in black ink, what emotion will it bring to those who see it?  Our names are more than names...they are patterns of letters attached to our deeds, the remnants of a life lived how?  People will one day put my name in their family tree and genealogy research.  I hope they will see that name...and feel a sense of gladness it is there.  I hope I leave behind a name in black ink that is overwhelmingly full of goodness.

May your week be full of things that make your name full of goodness.