and the greatest of these is love

Friday, May 2, 2014

lovesummerp

It has been a reflective week around here.  Our across the street neighbor died suddenly in a tragic way.  She was young.  She was full of life. We are all a little shocked.

Yesterday at her memorial service, I was reminded SO clearly of the whole point of life...of what it's all about.  Our time on earth is all about loving one another.  At my neighbor's memorial service, her brother, father, children and her husband all told stories about her beautiful life.  In each of these stories the important memory was how fiercely and how unabashedly she loved others.

We all get so caught up in the wrong things.  It doesn't matter how nice your kitchen is or if your kid is on the honor roll or what college they go to (I know I spend too much time on those things myself and often that is what I blog about--I'm a work in progress). Those things are the icing on the cake but they don't truly matter. No one is going to mention at your memorial service how well dressed you were or how nice your cars were or what a fit body you had (or at least those won't be the main memories)!  No one will care what your child's GPA was or if you were the top salesperson in your company or how clean your house was.  All of those are nice accomplishments but what will stay with people eternally is how you loved them.

It sounded as though my neighbor had humble beginnings.  She delayed her education to be a single Mom of 4 kids for a long time.  She eventually completed her education and was very successful professionally but she helped others as much while she was struggling as a single Mom as she did when she wasn't. She helped others even when it was really hard to help. She chose a field (geriatric care) to help the people that many don't want to help. She loved others deeply.

One of the moments that really touched me was when her young adult son spoke.  He played a message he had saved on his phone of his Mom singing a silly birthday song she always sang to each child.  It was a unique tradition in their family.  A silly little thing.  It was beautiful.  It is what they cling to right now during their pain. It is those small acts of love that matter.

Her children did not talk about luxurious vacations or fancy meals or picture perfect holidays. They talked about the tiny little things their Mom did every day to make them feel loved-- like tracking down a beloved childhood toy that got lost. That is what they remember.  That is what makes a difference.

Of course, I began to wonder how my kids will remember me someday.  Do I love fiercely enough?  Do I treat every human I meet with grace and dignity? Do I make time for others or do I spend my time on frivolous things? Do I spend too much energy on the unimportant material things in life ?  Am I silly enough?  Do we laugh as much as we should? Am I too selfish?

I know that really all we are meant to do here is love one another.  I KNOW that.  And we all love differently...  Some love by listening.  Some love by creating beauty for others.  Some are servants of the hard and gritty work.  Some love by making us laugh or holding our hand. Some love by being leaders and some by following.  There is no wrong way to love others..we all have our unique ways.  My neighbor loved others by getting things done.  She didn't give up. She always found a way.

There was a disgusting puddle in front of our street for years.  We called it "Lake Ourstreetname."  It was horrible. We tried to clean it up but it would be back within hours. Dave and I tried to get the city to take care of it as it was a result of this repaving debacle but we had no success.  So, we gave up and kind of learned to live with it. Sometimes, we would stand outside with our neighbors sharing a beverage and complain about the "lake." One day, our feisty neighbor took over and got everyone in her office to call and complain.  Guess what...eventually we saw some action.  At one point our neighbor wanted to drill holes herself to fix the problem.  She got things done.  It was her way of loving.

I really debated sharing this post as I want to honor my neighbor's family privacy but I also wanted to share this because I know we all need this kind of reality check from time to time.  We all need to ask ourselves if we are loving others they way we should be.  I am so saddened by the loss of her life and yet so grateful for the reminder of what is important in life.


I also covet your prayers for our very dear friend who in the hospital fighting for his life. He is very private so I don't want to give specifics but his situation is very serious. Thank you.

25 comments:

  1. I often think of these questions and wonder the same thing. It's very hard not to get caught up in the material things.

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    1. It is so hard Chrissy. I am going to try to keep this present in my daily living!!!

      Kim

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  2. I know how it feels to lose a young neighbor and friend. I am so sorry for your loss. And yes, you are right - it is the small and funny things that matter. In my case, what I remember most about "Rosie" was how she couldn't throw any of her children's artwork away - I'm talking the plain white piece of paper with a single red scribble on it kind of art. *grin* It hurt to think of that for years, but now it gives me comfort. Treat yourself gently this week. And yes, we will pray for your friend.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind wisdom and the prayers. I remember when you lost your friend. hugs.

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  3. Lovely... I am so very sorry for your loss.
    xoxo

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  4. Kim - Thank you for sharing that. I have been struggling with this very same thing you so eloquently wrote. Especially how my children will reflect on me when I am gone. It is a struggle for me daily because I don't always see the good God has given me. I have been quite easy to ignite lately. I am trying more to be eyes wide open!
    I will pray for your friend and your neighbor and her family. And you and your family as well.

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    1. Thank you Melissa. It is a daily struggle. And thank you for your prayers. I pray for you and yours always.

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  5. Kim this is just so perfect and beautiful... it's a reminder that we all need. Love you!

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  6. AMEN... It is so easy to get all side tracked in the physical things, money, home, cars, clothes. As sad as the situation is for this family, it is nice to have this post to help us remember these things. Prayers for you neighbor and your sick friend.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and prayers.

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  7. i will forever cherish this post. for me, a silent reader and follower of or blog for many yrs , this post exerts such a tender, kind, giving, vulnerable essence that is common btwn us all. Thank you.

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    1. HI Songbird, Thank you for your kind comment. I was so hesitant to post this so I am glad it touched you. It was a reminder I needed.

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  8. I needed to read this this morning. Thank you. I try to remind myself that we are only here on this earth for two things: LOVE GOD. LOVE PEOPLE. I fail miserably a lot of days. Today I am inspired to do a better job.

    Praying for the family of your neighbor and also for your friend who is ill today.

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    1. Yes, you are so right Love God and Love others. We all fail miserably but we get up and try the next day:) Thanks for the prayers and kind words.

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  9. Awwww, Kim... beautiful beautiful post. Thank you for texting it to me- you knew I needed to read these words today. I love you so much... I love your heart. You are a wonderful, loving friend. And even though I joke about you being the girl who wears white and never gets dirty, it's the way you love that I will always remember. And I'm so lucky to be one of those that you love. ♥ Talk later today.... xoxo

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    1. You're so funny Shana! Thank you for the sweet words. I love your big generous heart too.

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  10. Kim,

    I'm so sorry about your neighbor. I can't imagine how tough this must be for her family. But how wonderful that she is remembered in this way.

    You and Dave are incredible parents. You make things so special for your kids and continually show them how much they are loved. You appreciate each of their personalities and are so tuned to what they need and hope for. There is absolutely no doubt that your family knows how much you love them. I am sure that it would take forever in a memorial service for you, for your family to even begin to list the special things that you have done for each of them.

    Mary

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  11. Thank you for this important reminder of how to it's the small things in life that matter most.

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  12. Wow, that was a nice post.

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  13. Dear Kim.
    You honored your neighbor in such a beautiful way. And yes, it's true we will be remembered only for one thing: LOVE...but I do think that when you worry about, for example, your son's school, this is also love.
    I will pray for both, Kim, the one who is in Heaven and the one who is fighting here in Earth.
    A very big Kiss,
    Belén

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Thank you for your kindness.