Words of Wellness

November 17, 2009 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

"Life In Our Years"

I had the honor of co-officiating at two memorial services over the last ten days.† It is such a sacred privilege to be able to walk with people in their time of loss and to help them create memorial services that celebrate the life of the person who has passed on.†† Both services contained beautiful readings from scripture, words from family members that made us all laugh and cry, and classic hymns from the Christian tradition.† The families were blessed to have so many of their friends come and express their love and support for them at their time of loss.

When it came time for me to offer some words at these services, I reflected on a saying I had heard many years ago,† "It's not how many years you have in your life that matters, but how much life you have in your years."† Of course we would all like to have both.† It does, in fact, matter how many years we have in our lives and it is human nature for each of us want to have as many as possible.† While we certainly can make decisions that will influence how long our lives will be, none of us are in control of how long we will live.† We can only do so much in regards to effecting how many years we will have in our lives.

The matter is quite different when it comes to the second part of this saying; how much "life" we have in our years.† Here we have a high degree of control, choosing how much "life" we will have in our years.† We not only get to control how much "life" we will have, but we are also the ones that will determine just what we consider to be "life" in our years.†† How do you currently measure "life" in your years?† Is it how busy† or active you are?† Is it how hard you work?† Is it what you have accomplished?† Is it how loving you are?† Is it how much fun you have?† Is it how much you have given back to the world?† Is it time spent with friends and family?† Is it some combination of some, or all, of the above?

When loved ones spoke during these two recent memorial services, it was clear what "life" meant for them regarding the person whose life was being honored.††† Life meant love.† Life meant laughter.† Life meant showing up and being present.† Life meant not taking oneself too seriously.† Life meant traditions and celebrations.† Life meant remembering.† Life meant singing and dancing.† Life meant giving back to the community.† Life meant fidelity and trust.† Life meant a quiet and steady faith.† Life meant courage to persevere.† Life meant living a life in alignment with one's values. †

With the holidays approaching it is natural to remember loved ones who have passed on, and to give thanks for how we were blessed by the "life" in their years.† May it also be a time for each of us to reflect on how we define "life" in our own years, and to take time to share that "life" with all of our loved ones.

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