A well known and much beloved man in my area died last week. I never met him, but I heard three unrelated people in my acquaintance mention him with emotion since then; the one that made the deepest impression on me was when my stake president said that if any of us wanted to lead a Christlike life, we should look at the life of Deon Sanders.
The next day, I made sure to look at Brother Sanders’s obituary. Here it is. Notice that, as of today, there are 15 wonderful comments posted.
It reminds me of another, similar obituary. While flipping through the local paper on November 12, 2005, I noticed an especially long obituary with an entire article about it on the facing page. The obituary (here) was for Samuel Davis, and the article went into more detail about his life of service to church, family, and community. I clipped both out of the paper and stuck them in my journal. They’re refreshing when I need to clear my head and keep my priorities straight.
Now I won’t say that a longer obituary necessarily means a better person or a better life, but it sure doesn’t mean the opposite. As I scan those pages, I see tiny obituaries for people who have died at all ages, that simply say things like “survived by an ex wife and one daughter” and “no services to be held.” The two that I’m saving, however, speak of large families and significant service to others, of ambition in happiness and impact in making the world a better place.
It helps me to think about living my life in such a way that, when I’m gone, lots of great people will have plenty of good to say about my rich life. That’s the plan, anyway.