Lessons from the Dead
In the last two weeks, I’ve sadly attended two funerals. One funeral was for a man who died too young, and another for a woman who’d led a long and fruitful life. Each funeral was unique in their own way, and very representative of the person who’s life we were celebrating. Both funerals got me thinking…
As someone who’d rather face a firing squad than speak in public, I’m always amazed at the way some people so eloquently expound on someone’s life and capture the essence of the person in a way that makes attendees both laugh and cry. Speaking at a funeral takes guts, heart, and a deep appreciation for the person being eulogized–the kind of appreciation born of a close relationship.
We moved a lot when I was younger, and our last move was the summer before I started high school. Angry and churlish as only a teenager could be, I refused to make friends I’d have to leave in a few years when I just knew we’d move again. Needless to say, I spent four very long years doubling down on my philosophy while wallowing in loneliness. And my parents never moved again!
Do I go to reunions? Nope. Do I keep in touch with anyone from high school? Not at all. Do I regret my behavior? You betcha! Why am I confessing this awkward and pathetic truth? Because I’ve spent the better part of my adult life trying to break the habit I formed in high school of closing myself off to others.
But try I must, and the funerals I attended are a testament to why. Life is about relationships–living, breathing, messy, ugly, sometimes hurtful relationships. My first instinct when meeting someone new is to size them up and figure out if they are worth investing my time, and that’s just sad. Everyone has worth, even the folks who share too much, drink too much, cry too much, care too much, volunteer too much, love too much, hover too much, and seem to be a total train wreck. Seriously, who am I to judge?
The last two weeks were a good reminder to live a little, get out of my house, meet new people, try new things, and take more chances. Because life is short, no matter how long we live.