Early yesterday (5/10/2016) morning I was woken up by my sister’s phone call to tell me that our uncle had unexpectedly passed away. My thoughts immediately went to his beautiful wife, then to their children, then to their grandchildren. They have lost a great man, the world has. I’d argue that the most pure time to contemplate life and what you’re doing with yours, is right after a death. It’s the most honest time to ask some tough questions.
Not too long ago I was sitting with my sister and brother-in-law in their living room. My wife and my mother were there as well. Sometimes I like to throw out questions just to see how people will respond. This particular night, I asked, “What will you have to do to be content at the end of your life?” So, I ask you reading this, in order to die happy, what will you have to do to reach that point? If you don’t know the answer to this, I highly suggest you immediately consider this then work to get it done. Regret is a harsh last thought that no human should experience.
I bring this up because I believe my uncle to be somebody who lived a full life. Some people live 100 years and don’t give anything to the world, while some people live less than 30 but can help change it for the better. My uncle wasn’t given 100 years, but with the time he was given, he lived. He was a man of his faith, and unconditionally so. He was a man who loved his family, keeping in mind that love is a verb. He was a man with a laugh that, regardless of your mood, would make you smile inside and out. It was a paced, rolling, contagious laugh-I can hear it now. He was warm, friendly, and looked you in your eyes when you were speaking with him. My personal experience with him was that he was able to accept others while still being an unwavering representative of his beliefs. This is a standard very few get to.
I share all of this to say that I believe I have met a man who can answer my question with certainty and say that he is content. I call him Uncle Jeff. He and his wife built a life of family, consistency, and service. The passing of Uncle Jeff makes me revisit that question myself, and I hope you ask it too. How do we get to that wonderful place where he was? What are you going to do today that if you were taken tomorrow, you could look at the world and say, “I was a factor.” Uncle Jeff was a factor, a wonderful one. No human can influence as many lives as he did and ever truly die.
Go be a factor.