Since Phillip--the children's dad--died in January, the question of how I will be remembered has lingered heavy on my heart. I've watched my children and those who loved him most deal with losing him by remembering him--each one remembering different and/or similar aspects of his character and nature. And remembering his words--those words that shaped who he was and how he influenced them. I remember still a whole different set of memories and words through our relationship as husband and wife...and mom and dad to our kids. Those memories have left an imprint on each one of us that will never fade. So especially as my children have remembered him, I've wondered how they will remember me... How others will remember me... Will their memories be positive? Will they leave a lasting imprint? Or will those memories be here today and gone tomorrow?
I look back on my own life journey--and I realize I am not the same person I was five years ago, 10 years ago, or 20 years ago... I'm certainly not the person I was 40 years ago... (Gee, I'm sounding old!) I remember those who have walked in and out of my life at different points along the way. If I never see them again, they will never know the person I am today and that hurts.
The truth of it has become evident in the last few weeks since my youngest son came to stay with me since he got out of the Marines. We haven't lived together since he was in junior high. I've realized we don't know each other very well. When we talk, he often relates and responds to the mom he knew as a boy. I'm not "her" anymore; he's not that little boy anymore either. So I'm not so sure how to relate to this man either... This man who went through much of his "becoming" years virtually without me... Who has served duty tours in Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of his country... Who has opinions, values, beliefs, strengths, and hurts that I'm just learning about. So I have to wonder: if I died today, who would he remember?
Given the chance to return to "back then," I would have done many things differently. If I understood then what I know now, I would have lived differently. I would have been stronger, braver, kinder. I would have given more love and less anger... More hope and less hurt... More grace and less judgement... More of the Jesus-Me and less of the World-Me.
But, in reality, I'm left with only today--being the best "me" I can be today. I can only hope that the person I am today makes a deeper imprint than who I was in my yesterdays. Today, I'm living in grace and by grace. Today, I seek to see the "me" that Christ sees...His workmanship, created for a purpose--those "good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (EPHESIANS 2:10 ESV) Today, I strive to walk in His purpose. And that purpose is what I hope people remember most...
It took me so long to even begin to see myself as Christ sees me. I saw a mess--ugly, scarred, and imperfect. I lost all hope in the "me" I used to see. But today, I have hope because the Christ IN me is my Hope of Glory (See COLOSSIANS 1:27). He shows me who I am and what He wants me to do. My purpose is to give others that same hope by helping them see themselves as His workmanship--His masterpieces. And to show them that He made something beautiful. I want them to KNOW Him as their "Hope of Glory" and to be changed.
If people remember anything about me, I would hope that those memories would point to the Christ in me. If they remember love, compassion, grace, beauty, or hope in me at all, they would know that it's the "Hope of Glory" in me and that they would know HIM. Philip Yancey wrote, "You can gauge the size of a ship that has passed out of sight by the huge wake it leaves behind." The bigger the ship, the bigger the waves that follow. I hope that my life today is big enough to leave big waves--not because of anything I say or do so much as because of Him in me. I pray that the waves that follow me are waves of Hope bringing about change in the lives that touch mine.