Grandma Jean & Schaeffer Jo reading Fancy Nancy

Many of you may not know that I have been assigned the role of ‘family sentimentalist’. I suppose it is a 50/50 split: 50% out of my desire to remember the memories of things bygone, and 50% because no one else will do it. (Admittedly, I did once bring a picture of my long-deceased grandmother to the dinner table).

It has become a role I relish–not only because I get to collect neat old stuff–and know the story that is associated with it, but also because it has given me great pause about how I want to live my life. What I want people to say about me when I’m old and gray. When my children’s children remember me. When my eulogy is given. When I stand before my Creator.

In the past few weeks it has become even more real–as our family lost my great grandma at 103 years of age and had a scare with the health of my beloved Grandma Jean in the same week. Things somehow gain clarity and perspective when you’re faced with the reality of death–with our own mortality. So much of the peripheral and temporal clutter fall away, and it’s easier to evaluate what really matters. What really matters.

There are seasons of my life that I am not proud of–seasons where I lacked integrity, seasons when I didn’t know how to be a true friend. Seasons when I was so consumed with ‘finding myself’ that I couldn’t truly see others for who they were–only what they could offer me. Yet, each of these shameful seasons have provided great growth.

While I don’t have my eulogy written–or my life’s work figured out, I am certain of the things I do not want it to say. I do not want to miss opportunities to extend grace, to show generosity, to sacrifice for another.

To snuggle longer than we should and read books past bedtime, to jump in puddles and get dirty. To leave the dishes in favor of playtime and forget about the to-do lists for ‘just a little while more’. To bake cookies and eat dessert first.

To leave a legacy of love.