Last night, I attended the visitation for a woman I've known for thirty years plus. She was only 62, had just completed her doctorate, been made a dean, was making things happen. And now she's gone, with things left undone, and her absence will be felt keenly at my college. A few years ago, we lost her predecessor, another woman who was an important part of my growing up. Unlike Jackie, Donna left with the chance to wrap things up, to look back and see that she'd accomplished what she'd set out to. Jackie wasn't done. Jackie was, in many ways, just starting.
She lived her life well, though. She believed in God, she believed in heaven, and if there is a heaven, she's up there now, looking down and knowing that her work will be carried on.
Living life well is a goal we should all strive for. It will mean different things to different people. And it will change for us, on our life's journey. Our interests, our goals, our concerns will shift with time and it will be up to us to find a way to make life have meaning.
We spend, in our culture, a lot of time on empty pursuits that provide no depth, that leave us with little chance to say we lived our life well.
One of the most important lessons I can teach my children is to be of service, that a life lived well must encompass service to others. I think my son is learning that lesson well. Two days a week at Meals on Wheels, one morning a week at the animal shelter. He gives of himself and is pleased that he can be of service. It's a lesson I will make sure my daughters learn, too. And I will do this by being of service. Volunteering for Autism Speaks, helping to plan a walk, and planning a "Beat the Back-to-School Jitters" event for parents and kids next month, whether online autism community members agree or not about AS, is being of service to the community I live in. This week I'll also start as a hospice volunteer, another way, an important way, to be of service to my local community.
Each of us has something to offer to our community. Each of us is called to live our lives well. I hope each of you who reads this finds your way to be of service, to live life well, so that no matter when our journeys end, we will know we did the best we could, we gave what we could, and we showed that we cared about our fellow man.