Name: C. W. West
Location: Salem, Virginia, US

Monday, January 15, 2007

Funeral Fantasies

There is nothing that will put your life in perspective quite like spending the afternoon at a funeral. Make it a habit to visit one at least once each year.

Sit in the front of the room so that you have to listen to what is said by the preacher and by those who have been asked by the family of the deceased to talk about him behind his back. The sensitive walrus will find his thoughts wandering around inside his head just so he can avoid the inevitable tear that will get pulled out by those well-meaning monotones. Wandering thoughts will grab shreds of the somber messages that are floating by, and seek to match themselves to something that rationally applies to our current state of affairs.
  • Psalms 121. God is watching over your life. Just watching? Who is making things happen? I can pretty much do my own watching. I need help with the doing part. Who's going to make the changes around here anyway? I wonder if I can get God to interfere a little more often. Or maybe it really is up to me.
  • Have you ever received one of those emails that want you to click a button, but every time you try, the button scoots away? Try to soak up more of the life around you. God's painting. Put there just for you, but the more you try to get it all, the further away it gets. Or something blocks the view. Try to experience all of your emotions as deeply as you can. They evaporate. Try to see the beauty in your surroundings. You just can't get a good view. Maybe it’s the effort that is the reward. Maybe the goal is the means to the effort, instead of the effort as the means to the goal.
  • What could be more valuable than memories? It is true that if you work on your memories, you work on your life. But, unlike the bank account, no one gets to keep your memories when you die. Work on someone else's memories and you can leave something valuable when you die and enjoy the benefits while you are alive!
  • I've often heard that one should approach each day as if he were writing his own obituary. The idea is that, by consciously evaluating one's intentions, a person's efforts will be directed toward truly worthwhile goals. The walrus says that advice is weak, and "weak" advice should be banned from your life. To follow the "obituary" directive will cause you to strive for only those results that you can see, or imagine. That is powerfully self-limiting. You cannot possibly know the extent of your impact on those writing your obituary. You cannot guess your impact on those that will never know you, but will have their lives changed by the cosmic ripples generated by your actions. Do not allow yourself to be limited by your own view of what can be accomplished. Instead, know that your contribution to this world is immeasurable, regardless of its extent. Working to make your contribution known can only take energy from the entire, unknowable, life impact. Direct your life with goals, but never allow yourself to think that achieving the goal is all you have accomplished by your effort. Once again it is the effort and not the accomplishment that will make the difference.

Show’s over. It’s time to go back to work. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

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