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Love — It’s What Matters Most

Not to be morbid here, but have you ever considered what your family and friends will say about you when you leave this world? This thought crossed my mind recently as I contemplated my own mortality. I haven’t been feeling well of late. I have Mitral Valve Prolapse — a condition caused by the many years I suffered with the eating disorder. It doesn’t bother me all the time, but I’ve been stressed lately and the MVP is rearing its nasty head giving me all sorts of problems. Believe me, nothing makes you realize your own mortality more than when your heart is frantically pounding inside your chest, your hands and feet are numb and tingly, and you begin to feel faint. It hit me with the painful realization that life – my life – could end at any moment. So, I’ve been pondering the question — what matters most in life? I think it’s love.

My “pondering” brought to mind a dear family friend that passed away a few years ago. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Clyde or his beautiful funeral. Even though he was loved and cherished by many, his wake wasn’t filled with tears and wailing, but joy and laughter. His funeral was more a celebration of his life. Clyde had been in heating and air conditioning for fifty years, and along the way it was obvious he had touched hearts everywhere he went — he’d made a difference where God had planted him.

People poured into the funeral home that evening and each seemed to have a story to share with his family about him. People laughed all over again at jokes he’d told and stories he’d shared that would never be forgotten. They told inspiring stories of how he’d helped them in some way or been a wonderful friend in a time of need, and always … always Clyde had shown up at their door with a smile on his face. He had spread love and joy wherever he went. I had my own story. Clyde and his family were our neighbors. I grew up knowing them. I remember him as kind, gentle and soft-spoken. As a kid, I used to go over to their house on Saturday nights and play cards. I’ll never forget those evenings because they were filled with laughter and joy. That was something never found in my home, because my home was one  filled with Dad’s anger and rage and only fear resided there. In Clyde’s home his family knew love. All the stories and the memories of those that had known my friend made it crystal clear that he had left a lasting  legacy of love. He truly had bloomed where God had planted him. What a wonderful life he’d had. What an amazing way to be remembered. He passed peacefully at 85.

Isn’t this how we would all like to be remembered? Don’t we all want our family and friends to remember the love, joy and goodness we brought into their lives? Yet we so often get caught up in the day-to-day chaos and overwhelm it brings. We allow stress, worry, fears and doubts to consume us leaving no space for joy, laughter, gratitude and love to be expressed. I’m know I’m often guilty of this, and I want it to stop! I want my husband, my kids, and those whose lives I’ve intersected with to remember my life by the joy and inspiration I was for them and for the love I never failed to give them.

Love — it’s what matters most. It’s not the wealth you might have accumulated or the things you had, how talented or educated you were, but the love you gave and the difference that love made in another life. That’s a legacy worth striving for, and I think something that Jesus will not fail to ask us when we stand before Him on Judgement Day. I think God’s definition of what matters in life is straightforward. He will measure our lives by how we have loved. He will ask each one of us, “Did you do it all with love?”

So, let us strive to ‘be love’ in all we do and say to all that cross our path. Let us do the little things — the daily chores — even the things we dislike — with great love. We too can bloom wherever God has planted us.  Even if we already love our family and friends, we can always love them more.  Don’t let a day pass without letting them know how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate them, and shower them with hugs. We can strive to love those in our lives that might be hard to even like by remembering they too are a child of God. Love that divine part of them, and smile! We can put down our devices, turn off the television, and give quality time to our loved ones —- time is a priceless gift.

Is this path easy … no! It’s the path of a saint. But I believe that’s the path God calls each of us to follow. God IS love, and if we follow Jesus then we must also not simply want to be like Him, but strive to be like Him. So, it takes a whole lot of prayer and a whole lot of God’s grace to achieve our goal but isn’t it a worthy goal in the end? Isn’t this what makes a life well-lived? In the end, doesn’t the love we were and the love we gave matter most? I know this is how I’d like to be remembered. How about you?

Let us pray:Heavenly Father, I want a heart like Jesus. I want a heart that loves all unconditionally. I want to be kind, compassionate, and merciful to all that cross my path. I want a life well-lived – a life lived from a place of love that made a difference to others. I want to do even the small and mundane things in life with great love. But I know I cannot do this on my own for I am weak. So I pray for Your grace to help me towards my goal, so that I may ‘be love’ in my every action, word and deed. And Father, to You be all the glory, honor, and praise.    In Jesus Name … Amen  In Christ’s Love,

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