Have you ever given much thought about what others will remember about you when you leave this world? I can honestly say I have thought about it, but that’s about it.
Every time I take a bath I am reminded of an Aunt. I had an Aunt who lived in a mobile home. I had to be pretty young when this incident happened. I remember going to her home and spending the evening. She was to give me a bath. I remember turning on the water and getting in. Now I enjoy baths every now and then. When I was growing up showers were a luxury (or did they have them then, lol). At home growing up we lived in the country and had our own well. Water was not an issue like it is now. I always filled my bath as full as I could get it. I was planning the same thing that night. My Aunt came in when the tub floor was just barely filled. There wasn’t much water in it and certainly not enough to enjoy a good bath. In a very distinctive voice I can still her say, “turn the water off now. “ Of course I complained that I barely had enough water, but to her it didn’t matter. She either couldn’t afford the water bill or she just chose to be stingy with her water. That has left an impression on me. When I decide to take a bath I fill the bath and think about her comments. This Aunt was not in our lives too much. She did make an appearance every now and then, but not much. I do remember her having a convertible, which back then was really something, and giving us a ride. She had a questionable lifestyle so as a child I was not able to spend much time with her. The times I did were not as memorable as the bath incident.
I loved my grandpa on my Dad’s side. He and I got along rather well. I never knew my grandmother she died when my dad was a young boy. I remember some good times with him, but the times I remember the most was the last few years of his life. For a period of time before his death he would spend time at our house with dad and mom taking care of him. He seemed always to find his way to the kitchen when my mom was cooking. My grandfather had several opinions about everything and those opinions often were in disagreement with my mom. So after several weeks I can recall my mom telling my dad it was time for Granddad to move on to one of Dad’s sisters homes. He would stay there until it got to be too much and he’d make the rounds. Finally, he went back home where he died. An earlier time I recall was when I was learning to write my last name. It could be spelled with or without an extra e (Hernley or Hernly). Now some of my granddad’s family spelled it without the e and some with. We had always spelled it with an e. I remember practicing my handwriting one Sunday down at Granddad’s when we had a family get together. He came up behind me and informed me I was writing my name wrong. I had included the e like I always did. My dad proceeded to tell him I was doing it right. So a major discussion began on the proper way to spell my last name. I remember that scene quite well.
My mom was an only child so I didn’t seem to have those memories on her side. Her mother and I were great friends. I can remember the big farm dinners she had when the men would come and bale hay. That was some mighty good eats. I know there were probably some difficult days with her as well, but the thing of it is the good memories outweigh the bad; same thing for my granddad. Even though mom’s Aunts were my great-aunts I felt close to them and they seemed more like Aunts and Uncles to me. I can remember mostly good times with them. When we got together with them we would laugh and really enjoy each other’s company. I have really good memories of them.
As I began to think about this I began to think about what kind of impression I am leaving when I am with people. What kind of impression am I leaving after being with my children and grandchildren? Will they remember good times or will they remember me being critical with them or saying hurtful things to them? It kind of boils down to will they miss me when I am gone or will they be glad I’m gone?
As I reflect back on this I think about the impression Christ left with those he interacted with. I am thinking the Pharisees were probably glad Jesus was gone and the memories they had of Jesus was not pleasant memories. Like my granddad and mom they both had strong opinions on faith and they did not coincide.
On the other hand the Disciples were sad when Jesus was crucified and left them. I am sure there was a time of reminiscing about the good times they had with them. Even though His death was tragic His resurrection and the things He taught them outweighed the events surrounding His death.
It is not only important for us to leave behind good memories and good impressions, but it is also important to leave them with something they can always remember. Phillips, Craig and Dean sing a song called, “Will You Love Jesus More.” When I first heard it I vowed to make it my faith theme song. Following is a part of the song:
I feel quite sure if I did my best
I could maybe impress you
With tender words and a harmony
A clever rhyme or two
But if all I’ve done in the time we’ve shared
Is turn your eyes on me
Then I’ve failed at what I’ve been called to do
There’s someone else I want you to see
Will you love Jesus more
When we go our different ways
When this moment is a memory
Will you remember His face
Will you look back and realize
You sensed His love more than you did before
I’d pray for nothing less
Than for you to love Jesus more
Thinking about my Aunt who left me with some unpleasant memories I decided I wanted to leave others with some really good memories. What better memories could I leave them if I showed them how much I loved them and how much Jesus loves them? Maybe there are times I don’t always act my best when I am with them, but that just goes to show them I am human and it’s okay to make mistakes. God still loves us when we mess up. But, I never want to let those bad times outweigh the good times.
Have you thought about what you are leaving behind when you are with others? Does it make a difference to you or do you not care what others think when you are gone? We are called for a purpose and maybe that purpose is to share God’s love with those around you. Maybe that purpose is to lift others up and not bring them down. Maybe your purpose is to pass down to the next generations behind you the faith you have and to show the love you have for all people through Christ.
If you are a child of God then Christ left a great impression on you. Shouldn’t we do the same for those who touch our lives?
Dear God: Thank you for the Disciples memories of Christ. Because they had such strong memories they were able to pass those down through scripture. Teach me to be kind, considerate and to always encourage those around me; not for my glory, but so others may see the Christ that lives in me. When we go our different ways may I leave each and everyone with a smile and kind thought. May they be blessed by some word or deed you directed me to give them. There are so many in my life that has left good and lasting impressions on my life. There are few who hasn’t. Let them be a reminder of what I don’t want to do. Thank you Jesus for all you teach me in all the many ways you teach me. Amen.